In October 1971, a magazine publication entitled 'True Detective' comprehensively featured the murders of Kathy Snoozy, Deborah Furlong and Kathy Bilek, stating "At about the same moment, Park Ranger Ken Williamson was informing a member of the investigative team that he, too, had noticed a tall, bespectacled young man who had been a frequent visitor at Villa Montalvo. He was a loner and had impressed the Villa's ranger staff with his almost furtive conduct, said Williamson. The ranger had jotted down the license number of the strange youth's auto. The license number was forwarded to the California Department of Motor Vehicles headquarters in Sacramento, the state's capital 150 miles to the north of San Jose. The information teletyped back from the registration bureau was that the auto was the property of a Karl Francis Werner, living at an address on Shawnee Lane in San Jose".
The Zodiac Killer, probably in one last throw of the dice, sent a letter to the chairman of the DMV in a desperate attempt to reclaim some lost pride. It likely read as follows "I am the murderer of the two kids in San Jose in August and the girl on the 11th of April near the park in Saratoga. I drove away quite slowly from both crime scenes so as not to draw attention to my car. Stop listening to phonys". Yet, on this occasion he couldn't supply any extra details known only to him and the police, finally bringing the Zodiac Killer's unabated fortune of claiming unsolved crimes to a crashing halt, and thereby exposing him as the real phony that many suspected he always was. The Zodiac Killer's race was run - and Ken Williamson was the architect in his unthroning.
Ken Williamson and the DMV Letter
Also read The Story of San Jose for full context surrounding the DMV letter.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE (NOW NOT APPLICABLE}
Tom Voigt, creator of the hugely successful ZodiacKiller.com website has been striving to secure Zodiac material previously withheld from the public for many years. Authenticated by a state document examiner, the DMV letter was mailed to the chairman of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, yet its delivery date and contents have remained elusive to this day. It appears the overriding consensus, that the closer this correspondence was mailed to the four canonical crimes, the more likely it is to be genuine Zodiac material. Having read the limited forum threads on this topic, the murder of taxicab driver Paul Stine in Presidio Heights on October 11th 1969 comes to the fore.
Tom Voigt stated "While I don't yet have as many details as I would like, at some point the Zodiac wrote a letter to the chairman of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in California. The letter was authenticated, apparently via handwriting, and was kept quiet for reasons unknown. The reason I have only lately been attempting to get permission from my source is because I just recently learned from victim Paul Stine's sister that Paul's wife at the time of his murder worked for the DMV".
There is a California Department of Motor Vehicles at 1377 Fell Street, San Francisco, the same street that Paul Stine resided (1842 Fell Street) and just 700 meters away- but whether the suspect letter was mailed to the San Francisco offices and forwarded to the Department of Justice in Sacramento, or mailed directly to Sacramento, maybe Tom can elaborate.
The Paul Stine police report suggested that the "suspect may also be in possession of the keys to the Yellow Cab, and possibly has the wallet belonging to the victim," so whether the Zodiac Killer mailed any possessions of Paul Stine with his communication to the DMV chairman is uncertain. Having no idea the date this letter was mailed, opens up the possibility it may be connected to the Lake Berryessa attack on September 27th 1969, the only confirmed Zodiac crime in which the killer seemingly failed to document in letter form.
Their bodies were discovered early Sunday morning by beachgoers, fully clothed underneath a blanket. They had been brutally beaten and stabbed, predominantly in the back and face.
John Hood had been stabbed eleven times, but it appears Sandra Garcia suffered the brunt of the attack, not dissimilar to the senseless attack on Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard at Lake Berryessa on September 27th 1969. Had the Zodiac Killer returned to a familiar method of execution after his venture into the heart of San Francisco, and was the Melvin Belli letter on December 20th 1969 the foreboding of a man who was about to murder once again, stating he may "lose control again and take his ninth or possibly tenth victim." Were John Franklin Hood and Sandra Garcia those victims.
"The eldest of six children, Hood was born in Seattle. He came to California with his family in 1950. He attended El Rio Elementary School and graduated from Camarillo High School in June, 1965. After graduation, he worked at Wimpy's Drive-In in Oxnard and then joined the Army in January 1966. He spent two years in Germany with the 64th Armored Division after boot training in Ft. Bliss, Texas, and then returned home for leave before being sent to Vietnam. While on leave, Hood met Sandra while they were both vacationing in Tijuana, Mexico. An expert marksman, Hood was sent to Vietnam on January 6, 1969 with the 64th Armored Division. Hood was closed-mouthed about the combat-filled year he spent there and about the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and other medals he had received for valor. After returning to Oxnard, he went back to work for the drive-in eatery. Although Hood and Sandra were planning to be married, they had not set a wedding date." Oxnard Press Courier, February 23, 1970. Sandra Garcia worked for the California Department of Motor Vehicles in Oxnard, Santa Barbara.
Was the DMV letter claiming this double murder, but was withheld from publication by police, who were unsure of a connection to the Zodiac Killer, or because of the sensitive details contained within the communication. We may have to wait a little longer to find out.
This was covered extensively in the newspapers. Just over six weeks later a letter claiming to be from the Zodiac Killer was mailed to the Vallejo Times-Herald on October 28th 1987.
Update: "SAN JOSE (AP) A man who ran over and killed three children entered a plea bargain on Wednesday, pleading no contest to second degree murder and two vehicular manslaughter charges. Jose Santos Bugarin, 26, of San Jose, had two of the original murder charges filed against him changed to manslaughter. He will be sentenced to 21 years and eight months in state prison. Bugarin was the driver of a car that plowed through a front yard on King Road in San Jose on Sept. 12, killing three children." San Bernardino Sun- December 3rd 1987.
Did the Zodiac Killer or the author of the 1987 letter read the news stories of this senseless crime and callously draw inspiration from this tragedy (Cars make nice weapons), compelling him to write the above correspondence, piggybacking off newspaper articles, in not dissimilar fashion to his early communications.
The Car movie featured a satanic driverless car running people over in the fictional desert town of Santa Ynez in Utah. IMDB.
However, Santa Ynez is not so fictional in California. The town of Santa Ynez is one of the communities of the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara. It is situated just 20 minutes or 12 miles (as the crow flies) from the site of the Robert Domingos (18) and Linda Edwards (17) murders on June 4th 1963, widely touted as an early Zodiac crime. See article 'Death on Four Wheels'.
Thanks to Tom Voigt at ZodiacKiller.com