The Melvin Belli letter was mailed only 13 days after the December 7th 1969 San Francisco Chronicle 'Fairfield' letter, so it appeared as though the Chronicle had dismissed the Fairfield letter, claiming they had not heard from the Zodiac "in recent weeks". They apparently never published the Fairfield letter (unless anybody knows otherwise), and the follow up letter on December 16th 1969, mailed to the San Francisco Examiner equally appeared to make little impact. Why were these communications apparently overlooked?
Many Zodiac researchers and enthusiasts regard the two Fairfield letters to have been penned by a hoaxer - but if the letters were created by a hoaxer why did he do such a poor job as to negate the purpose of sending them. The Zodiac Killer created two organized and structured ciphers of 408 and 340 characters. Both were designed with care, using seventeen characters in each row, and a form of 'filler' on the 408 code to keep the cipher symmetrical. The December 7th 1969 Fairfield letter contained a 38 character code, much of which was 'stolen' from the 340 cipher and formed into scruffy disorganized rows. If the letter writer was attempting to disguise himself as Zodiac, then why didn't he simply create a few lines of symbols in an organized fashion like the 408 and 340 cipher. The fact he didn't do this could suggest that he wasn't trying to pass himself off as Zodiac - because he was Zodiac. The argument, is that the December 7th 1969 letter is a poor Zodiac imitation and therefore not the Zodiac. However, it isn't very difficult to copy any of the characters from the first two ciphers and create a new and realistic looking cipher that mimics its predecessors. This is not a difficult task - and neither is the handwriting. The following image (December 7th 1969 Fairfield letter and 38 character code) was inspired by a forum thread on Zodiac Killer Site.
Can it be argued that the Fairfield letter stating "I just need help" and the Melvin Belli letter thrice urging "please help me" just 13 days later, was just simple coincidence, or is it more likely the Zodiac Killer had written the earlier Fairfield letter and was just continuing the theme. In addition, the second part of the December 7th Fairfield letter is threatening to kill a cop just like the communication following the Belli letter on April 20th 1970, in which Zodiac suggested "there is more glory in killing a cop than a cid because a cop can shoot back". Additionally. the Fairfield letter after stating he "needs help," intimates he "will kill again," as does the Melvin Belli letter when warning he "will lose control again".
The Zodiac Killer certainly appeared to design his ciphers in a carefully structured way - so imagine - that when saw this poorly designed and crude 38 character code plagiarizing his 340 cipher in a newspaper, why on earth would he then validate the hoaxer by mimicking the December 7th 1969 letter by stating "please help me" in the Melvin Belli letter later that month. One would think he'd have wanted to disassociate himself from it. Whatever approach you pursue, tends to validate the December 7th 1969 letter mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle, and by association, the December 16th 1969 letter mailed to the San Francisco Examiner, which was almost certainly penned by the same author. The latter Fairfield letter could also have links to the 'Halloween' card, with the code reading Death By Fire, By Gun, By Rope and By Knife. link
The Zodiac Killer thought he had sent proof of his connection to the first two crimes when he mailed the trinity of July 31st 1969 letters. Vallejo Police Chief Jack E. Stiltz urged the author for more details to prove he was the killer, and the Zodiac duly obliged on August 4th 1969. The Zodiac then mailed a piece of taxicab driver Paul Stine's shirt in his next three consecutive and 'confirmed' communications. Firstly, in the October 13th letter, secondly, with the November 8/9 card and letter, and finally with the Melvin Belli letter.
All these communications were mailed from San Francisco, likely during his normal routine - but the December 7th & 16th letters were mailed from Fairfield. If he was away from his usual residence during this span of 10 days (possibly having broken up for Christmas) and was on holiday, or visiting family, or simply away from his home location on business, then it is conceivable that he had to improvise with writing paper and stamps. He most certainly would have stored the blooded shirt piece in a secure location (possibly at home), to which he likely had no access during the mailing of the two Fairfield letters. These letters have all the hallmarks of 'spur of the moment' communications while away from his home location. This may explain their deviation from what had come before or after. Nevertheless, it is crucial to find out if these two Fairfield letters were published by any newspapers prior to December 20th 1969. If they weren't published, then the two Fairfield letters are almost certainly penned by the Zodiac Killer.