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The Zodiac Killer Continued - More Murders - More Zodiac Letters

Hello, This Is the Zodiac Speaking...

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More Murders - September 27, 1969 - Shepard and Hartnell

College students, Cecelia Ann Shepard, 22, and Bryan Calvin Hartnell, 20, were picnicking on a peninsula at Lake Berryessa near Napa, Ca. A man carrying a semiautomatic pistol and wearing a hooded costume approached the couple.

He told them that he was an escaped convict from a Montana prison where he killed a guard and stole a car and that he wanted money and their car to drive to Mexico.

The couple were cooperating fully with his demands, offering him money and the car keys and the three talked for awhile.

He instructed Shepard to hog-tie Bartnell with precut pieces of a clothesline that he supplied. He then tied up Shepard and told the couple, "I'm going to have to stab you people," and took out a long double-edged knife and stabbed Hartnell six times and Shepard ten times.

He left the couple for dead and walked casually back to Hartnell's car where he drew a crossed-circle symbol in black magic marker on the side of the car and the dates of the attacks in Vallejo.

A fisherman discovered the couple and called the police. Both victims were still alive, but it took over an hour for medical help to arrive. Shepard died two days later after lapsing into a comma. Hartnell survived and gave police a detailed account of the events as well as a description of the attacker.

The Call

At 7:40 p.m. an anonymous caller contacted the Napa County Police Department. He spoke to officer David Slaight in what was described as a low, monotone voice. He told Slaight:

    "I want to report a murder - no, a double murder. They are two miles north of park headquarters. They were in a white Volkswagen Karmann Ghia..." and ended the call with, "I'm the one who did it."
As in the Vallejo case, the call was traced to a phone booth just a few blocks from the police department.

October 11, 1969 - Paul Stine

San Francisco cab driver Paul Stine, 29, picked up a passenger in Union Square and drove to the wealthy area of Cherry Street and Nob Hill. It was there that the passenger shot Stine in the temple, killing him, then removed his wallet, car keys and carefully tore off a large portion of his shirt.

Three youngsters witnessed the event from a second floor window across from the parked taxi. They contacted the police and described the shooter as white male, 25 to 30 years old, stocky build and a crew cut.

An intensive manhunt was immediately launched, but somehow there was a mistake made as to the killers race and the police were searching for a black male. How this mistake was made was never reported and no one was ever apprehended for the crime.

It was later determined that police drove by a large white male fitting the original description who was just blocks from the shooting, but because of his race the police did not consider him a suspect.

October 14, 1969

The Chronicle received another letter from the Zodiac. A piece of Stine's blood soaked shirt was enclosed and the author referred to the Stine murder, saying the police failed to catch him because they did not search the area properly. He then pointed to his next intended victims, school children.

October 22, 1969

A caller identifying himself as the Zodiac contacted the Oakland Police Department and demanded on-air time on the Jim Dunbar television talk show with F. Lee Bailey or Melvin Belli, both famous defense lawyers. Belli appeared on the show and a call from someone saying they were the Zodiac came in while the show was being televised. He said his real name was Sam and asked that Belli meet him in Daly City. Belli agreed but the caller never showed. It was later determined that the call was a hoax and the imposter was a mental patient at the Napa State Hospital.

November 1969

On November 8 and 9, the Chronicle received two Zodiac letters. The first one was a 340-character cipher. The second letter was seven pages long and included another piece of Stine's shirt. In the letter he claimed the police had stopped and talked with him three minutes after he shot Stine. He also drew a schematic of what he referred to as his "death machine" which was made to blow up large objects such as busses.

December 20, 1969

Melvin Belli received a Christmas card at his home which included another piece of Stine's shirt. In the card the Zodiac claimed he wanted help from Belli, ending with:
    "Please help me I can not remain in control for much longer."
Attempts from Belli to get the Zodiac to contact him again were made, but nothing ever happened. Some speculate that the card was written during a moment of clarity, while others believe it was another attention-getting hoax on the part of the Zodiac.

March 22, 1970

On the evening of March 22, 1970, Kathleen Johns, who was eight-months pregnant, was on her way to meet her mother. She had her ten-month-old daughter in the back seat of the car. While on Highway 132 in San Joaquin County, west of Modesto, Johns pulled over after a driver pulled up along side her and indicated that something was wrong with her car. The driver pulled over and told Johns that her wheel was wobbling. He said he would tighten the wheel bolts, but instead loosened them, then returned to his car and drove off.

When Johns pulled away her tire fell off. The man in the car was not far ahead and backed up and offered Johns a ride to a gas station. She agreed, but became frightened when he failed to stop a several gas stations. The ride took over three hours of what Johns described as, "silent aimless driving around." She was able to escape with her child when the driver stopped at an intersection.

Johns fled across a field and hid until she saw the man drive away. She received help from a passerby and was taken to the local police department in Paterson. While at the station she saw a wanted poster with a composite sketch of the Zodiac and identified the person as the man who kidnapped her. Her car was later found gutted and burned.

Throughout the years, Johns' account of the night's events has changed from her original statement. Some question if she was really a victim of the Zodiac Killer because of the different versions she has told.

This was the last time anyone ever reported seeing the Zodiac.

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