Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zodiac Killer

San Francisco

SFPD Homicide Case #696314 

Paul Stine
Paul Stine
On the night of Saturday, October 11, 1969, San Francisco cab driver Paul Stine picked up a fare at the corner of Mason and Geary Streets in Union Square headed for the Presidio, which lies at the northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula.  The destination that Stine entered in his log and called in to his dispatcher was at the corner of Washington and Maple Streets in Presidio Heights. 

The cab was parked one block west, however, at the intersection of Washington and Cherry Streets, when the passenger shot Stine point blank in the right side of the head.  Whether the killer had made the trip in the front seat or got in front after the murder is uncertain, but witnesses saw him in front as he removed the dead man's wallet and keys, and then cut a large piece from the back of his shirt which he soaked in blood and took with him as he walked slowly north on Cherry Street.

Three teenage siblings on the second floor of 3899 Washington, directly across the street from the cab, happened to spot the killer as he cut Stine's shirt and suspected foul play.  They watched him exit the cab and wipe down parts of the cab's interior and exterior, briefly leaning on the driver's side door frame. 

They called the police, who logged the call at 9:58 p.m. and broadcast an incorrect description of the killer as a black male.  Consequently, when patrolmen Donald Foukes and Eric Zelms responded in a radio car and noticed a heavyset white man sauntering east on Jackson Street, they made no effort to apprehend him.  Despite the intensive search of the area that followed, the killer's head start allowed him to escape, probably to a nearby getaway car.

 

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