Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Heriberto 'Eddie' Seda

One Zodiac

The third Zodiac letter
The third Zodiac letter

An intriguing Zodiac letter arrived at the Post the day after the Central Park shooting. It contained the same occult symbolism, nonsensical ramblings and a listing of the victims, time of death and sun sign. This letter however, was unusual in its vehement attempt to convince the Post, and thus the police and public, that New Yorks Zodiac was the same person as the Bay Areas Zodiac.

Aside from a few enthusiastic exceptions, the police, press and public never really believed the two were the same. Everything from the killers handwriting to the victims descriptions of the assailant pointed to the fact that New Yorks Zodiac was a copycat.

The Zodiacs June 22 note however, vehemently denied it:

This is the Zodiac
The note Sent to the Post not to any of The San Francisco Zodiac letter you are
Wrong the handwriting look different it is
One of the same Zodiac one Zodiac
In San Francisco killed a man in the park with a
Gun and killed a women with a knife and killed
A man in the taxi cab with gun

As journalist Kieran Crowley wrote in Sleep My Little Dead, many reporters salivated at the idea that the original Zodiac had returned. After all, it would have made an explosive story. However, the June 22 note struck Crowley and his colleagues as just too desperate and angry. It was the work of a young, non-white man from Brooklyn who wanted everyone to believe that he was a white, middle-aged serial killer from San Francisco.

Nevertheless, the fact that New Yorks Zodiac was a copycat didnt change the fact that Joseph Proce died on June 24th. New Yorks Zodiac was officially a killer and the NYPD mobilized to stop him.

Parham helped the police put together a composite sketch. He described his assailant as black, around 30 years old, 5 foot 10 inches to 6 feet tall and about 185 pounds. Wags nicknamed the composite sketch Evil Al Roker for its resemblance to the jovial TV weatherman. The composite was released to the press, prompting hundreds of calls.

Publicity-hungry psychics offered to help the police solve the case. People reported friends, neighbors, co-workers that had to be the Zodiac. One young man was fingerprinted because he took a book on astrology out of the New York Public Library. Another man was arrested and questioned because in 1980 he had signed a friends yearbook with a quote from a San Francisco Zodiacs letter. Police consulted astronomy professors for insights on the constellations.

Through all this, detectives began to believe the only way to catch the Zodiac was to trap him in the act. After all, they knew when he would strike next.

 

Categories
Advertisement