Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zebra Killers

More Trials

J.C. Simon, mugshot
J.C. Simon, mugshot

             The Nation of Islam appointed attorneys for Simon, Green and Moore, but refused to represent Cooks after he pled guilty to killing Frances Rose. He was given a court-appointed lawyer.

             Anthony Harris testified for 12 days and spilled it all, providing grisly details about how Green had hacked Quita Hague to death and how J.C. Simon killed Tana Smith. He denied hurting any of the victims himself.

            The defense attacked Harris' testimony, recounting his long history of emotional problems — he was first placed in a mental hospital at age 14 — and blamed the killings on him and him alone.

Manuel Moore, mugshot
Manuel Moore, mugshot

            As for the defendants, Moore was calm and made a good impression with jurors, but gave conflicting testimony about dates and events, Howard writes. Simon discredited himself by claiming to have been visited by Allah. Green was articulate. And Cooks didn't testify at all.

Jessie Lee Cooks, mugshot
Jessie Lee Cooks, mugshot

            The jury took just 18 hours to reach a unanimous decision, finding all four defendants guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Each was sentenced to life in prison. Green laughed when the verdict was read.

            In the decades since their imprisonment, the men have petitioned for –— and been denied — parole on multiple occasions.

Dwight Stallings
Dwight Stallings

             Dwight Stallings and four other men were arrested as suspects in the Zebra killings but were released for lack of evidence. SFGate.com reported on Dec. 22, 1995 that Stallings, a 49-year-old dockworker, was found dead of unknown causes. Retired homicide Inspector Rotea Gilford, San Francisco's first African American homicide detective, had known Stallings all his life and was the man who arrested him in the 1970s.

"I know he bought ammunition; I don't know if he ever pulled the trigger, but I know he was involved," Gilford stated.

After Stallings was released from the Zebra case, he led a quiet life as a longshoreman, raising his family.

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