Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zodiac Killer

Melvin Belli

Famed personal injury lawyer Melvin Belli, who had been the butt of a Zodiac hoax earlier in the year, received a Christmas card at his home on December 27. It was forwarded to his office where a secretary opened it and found yet another piece of Paul Stine's bloody shirt.  The back of the envelope was decorated with the greeting "Mery Xmass + New Year."

Melvin Belli
Melvin Belli

Dear Melvin

This is the Zodiac speaking I wish you a happy Christmass. The one thing I ask of you is this, please help me. I cannot reach out because of this thing in me won't let me. I am finding it extreamly dificult to keep in check I am afraid I will loose control again and take my nineth + posibly tenth victom. Please help me I am drownding. At the moment the children are safe from the bomb because it is so massive to dig in & the trigger mech requires so much work to get it adjusted just right. But if I hold back too long from no nine I will loose complet
[crossed out] all controol of my self + set the bomb up. Please help me I can not remain in control for much longer.

Perhaps out of wishful thinking, it was assumed that the killer wrote this letter in a rare lucid moment, but a cursory examination of the original document and the envelope it arrived in plainly shows that it was meticulously arranged, with a perfect left margin and uniformly spaced lines.  Even the crossing-out of the word "complet" seems too neat to be spontaneous.  The author can also be seen to deliberately alter his handwriting, though his natural style appears to show through near the end.

Despite the gratuitous publicity events that Belli staged in the weeks that followed, the Zodiac never contacted him again.  Nothing more was heard from the killer for three months.


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