Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zebra Killers

Death Angels

The SFPD had tried another tack — offering a $30,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killers.

            A man named Anthony Harris, who worked at Black Self Help, responded.

Anthony Harris
Anthony Harris

            Harris was struggling to support a wife and baby, and $30K was a lot of dough to him. A few hours after he dropped a dime from a pay phone, detectives brought him to a police station for questioning. He spilled all the beans, telling them about the Death Angels and the point system based on killing white people.

Howard writes that the Black Muslim sect believed white people were an inferior race created by evil scientist named Yacub, and that by killing "blue-eyed devils" or "grafted snakes" — as they called Caucasians — they would be guaranteed entry to heaven. The cops couldn't believe their ears. But as Harris talked to them, they realized he was the real deal. Only a person who had witnessed the murders would be able to recount them in such detail.

Black Self-Help Center, outside
Black Self-Help Center, outside

            Harris also told them about a killing that hadn't made the paper, that of a young white homeless man the group had kidnapped from Ghirardelli Square. The men had brought the man back to Black Self Help, stripped him naked and tied him to a column in the loft, Howard writes. Then each of the men had chosen a weapon — a knife, a meat cleaver, a machete — and taken turns hacking him to pieces. Harris told the detectives that he'd dumped the body into the San Francisco Bay.

            He gave them names, dates, addresses and details — all the cops needed for warrants to capture the killers.

Outside suspects' apartment
Outside suspects' apartment

            In the pre-dawn hours of May 1, more than 100 cops carried out simultaneous pre-dawn raids. Forty officers were deployed to an apartment building at 844 Grove Street, where J.C. X. Simon lived in Apartment 2, and Larry Green in No. 7. Twenty cops charged into Black Self Help Moving and Storage Company on Market Street, where two suspects lived. None of the men arrested in the raid offered resistance.

Larry Green, mugshot
Larry Green, mugshot

            Of the seven suspects taken into custody, three were later released.

            Before the raids, Leroy Doctor had been convicted for assaulting PG&E employee Robert Stoeckmann and sentenced to prison, and another man, Jessie Lee Cooks, had been sentenced to life in prison for murdering Frances Rose.

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