The wording on the 148 character cipher communication strongly indicated it was a direct response to the above article. The coded section read "Tis the Zodiac Speacking. Why can't you stop me. I can't stop killing. Stop listening t(o) phonys. If this is not on your front page in a week I will skin 3 little kids and make a suit from the skin". His demand to stop listening to phonys was aimed at the detectives questioning Karl Francis Werner. His response to Werner being interviewed over the "killings of the three girls" was to threaten another "3 little kids", who he would kill and make a suit from the skin. Rather than take his medicine of being unearthed as a phony himself, he effectively doubled down, transferring the label of phony onto the real killer. However, he wasn't going to leave it there, continuing to triple down on July 13th 1971 when he mailed the unreleased Monticello card.
The Zodiac Killer was claiming he had murdered 21 victims in May, yet stated he "sought victim 21" in his July offering. He was referring to "sought victim 21" retrospectively, exactly as he had done so in the March 22nd 1971 Pines card (that mirrored the Monticello card). The Monticello card referred to the murder of Kathy Bilek on April 11th 1971, who he had claimed he sought as victim 21. The Pines card was referencing the murder of Donna Lass, who disappeared on September 6th 1970. He was also suggesting he had sought her as victim 12 when she lived in San Francisco just prior to her move to South Lake Tahoe. The Zodiac Killer had employed a similar tactic in both cards, likely too clever for the casual hoaxer.
Additonally, the Monticello card was directing us to the neighborhood of Monticello in San Jose where Kathy Snoozy was buried. The Zodiac Killer was attempting to link the murder of Kathy Snoozy (and hence Deborah Furlong) into the fabric of the Monticello card detailing the murder of Kathy Bilek. Not only by the use of location, but by the common link of the name "Kathy". The Monticello card was an extremely well designed communication, harking back to its roots of "Aug" in the November 8th 1969 Dripping Pen card. This story had effectively stretched for the best part of two years. A casual copycat is an extremely unlikely candidate for such intricacy.
However, this isn't the main thrust of the article. The Zodiac Killer mailed three communications from Fairfield, California from December 7th 1969 to (probably May) 1971. The first claimed "I will kill again", the December 16th 1969 communication stated "I will kill more people", with the communications from 1971 continuing with the unoriginal "I can't stop killing". There must have been something in the air at Fairfield. All three communications from Fairfield contained codes, graduating from 5 to 38 to 148.
Another code would arrive with the Albany letter on August 1st 1973, two years later. The question I have to people, is how many hoaxers were writing Zodiac letters from the middle of 1971 to August 1973, which included ciphers? How many hoaxers were creating very geometrical and blocky looking ciphers during this period? And how many hoaxers fortuitously used a ciphertext number 7 to represent the plaintext letter A in their codes? The 148 character cipher from about May of 1971 and the Albany letter from August 1st 1973 were bound by several similar characters, notably, the number 7 which represented the letter A on both occasions, as well as the squares with lines bisecting them vertically, horizontally and diagonally, the stunted Zodiac crosshairs (sun cross), the use of other numbers in the ciphertext (3, 4, 5, 7) and the reversed N (either angled or not). If the communication from May of 1971 was not published in the newspapers (and is very likely the Zodiac Killer), how many hoaxers were still around two years later to produce the Albany letter and cipher with so many crossover points?