gotten from Here
"Zodiac Killer" (6+) The elusive Zodiac is the most mythical killer on the loose in California. There are numerous theories surrounding his identity, methods, and reasoning behind his astrological killing spree. His numbers vary according to sources. Some attribute only six hits to this faceless maniac. Others believe the Zodiac has tallied up to 49. Some have settled on 37 after a note he sent to a San Francisco paper on January 30, 1974 in which he wrote "Me-37; SFPD-0."
"Zodiac," one of numerous killers obsessed with publicity, sent twenty-one letters to various newspapers boasting of his crimes. He obtained his astral moniker after he scribbled zodiac signs around several of his victims. His killing spree started in 1966 and faded around 1974. The rare survivors from his attacks have described him as a heavy set man with glasses and red hair.
In one of his letters he explained that he killed "because it is so much fun." His master plan was to collect "slaves for the afterlife." He also threatened to "wipe out a school bus some morning." For a time it was believed that "Zodiac" had moved to New York where he continued with his deadly habits. However, that astral killer proved to be a copycat. On June 18, 1996, 29-year-old Heriberto Seda, New York's "Zodiac Killer," was arrested after a 3 1/2 hour siege in Brooklyn.
Trail of the Zodiac Killer
Dec. 20, 1968 Two teenagers on their first date, David Farraday and Betty Lou Jensen, are shot to death as they sit in a parked car on Lake Herman Road outside Vallejo.
July 5, 1969: A man with a flashlight approaches a car parked at the Blue Springs Golf Club in Vallejo and, without a word, opens fire on the occupants. Darlene Ferrin, 22, is killed instantly; her companion, Michael Mageau, 19, survives. Less than an hour later, a man calls Vallejo police from a pay phone and says: "I want to report a double murder. If you go one mile east on Columbus Parkway to the public park, you will find kids in a brown car. They were shot with a 9mm Luger. I also killed those kids last year. Goodbye."
July 31, 1969: The Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner and the Vallejo Times-Herald each receive a copy of a poorly spelled letter, signed only with a simple crossed- circle design, in which the author takes responsibility for the July 5 shootings and includes a portion of a cipher. The decoded message, errors and all, says in part: "When I die I will be reborn in paradice and the I have killed will become my slaves."
Sept. 27, 1969: Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard, both college students, are picnicking at Lake Berryessa in Napa County when they are approached by a tall man wearing a hooded costume. He ties them up with rope and stabs them with a foot-long knife. Shepard dies, Hartnell survives. The killer uses a magic marker to draw his trademarked cross-circle design on the door of Hartnell's Volkswagen.
Oct. 11, 1969: San Francisco cab driver Paul Stine, 29, is fatally shot by a customer at Cherry and Washington streets in Presidio Heights. A dispatcher mistakenly broadcasts a lookout for a black suspect, and two police officers stop a white man who may have been the killer on a nearby street before letting him go.
Oct. 13, 1969: The Chronicle receives a letter containing a bloody swath of Stine's shirt and a threat to shoot children on a school bus. Bay Area police departments respond by assigning officers to escort buses to schools.
Nov. 10, 1969: The Chronicle receives another letter from the Zodiac containing detailed plans for a "death machine" to blow up a school bus. "The police shall never catch me, because I have been too clever for them," he writes.
March 22, 1970: Kathleen Johns, 22, and her newborn daughter are traveling on Highway 132 west of Modesto when a man in a car offers to help them tighten the nuts on a loose tire. Instead, he disables their vehicle and gives them a ride under the guise of driving them to a service station. The man then drives them around for several hours without stopping. At one point, Johns asks if he always helps strangers this way and he replies, `'`By the time I get through with them, they won't need my help." Johns escapes by jumping out the door with her infant and later identifies her kidnapper as the man depicted in wanted poster for the Zodiac.
July 26, 1970: The Chronicle receives another letter from the Zodiac in which he makes an unsubstantiated claim of killing 13 people. Part of the letter, which appears to be a parody of lyrics from the Gilbert and Sullivan opera "The Mikado," describes the ways in which the killer plans to torture his slaves in the afterlife. "Others I shall skin them alive + let them run around screaming," he writes. "And all the billiard players I shall have them play in a darkened dungen (sic) all with crooked cues and Twisted Shoes."
July 8, 1974: In his last verified letter to The Chronicle, the Zodiac complains about the columnist Count Marco, whom he says "always needs to feel superior to everyone."