Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zodiac Killer

The LA Times Letter

The next letter came after an uncharacteristically long five-month silence. Posted on March 22, 1971, with two upside-down 6-cent stamps, it was the only letter the Zodiac ever sent to the Los Angeles Times, and it was the first to be sent from outside San Francisco: it had been postmarked in Pleasanton, 15 miles east of the Bay.

This is the Zodiac speaking

Like I have allways said, I am crack proof. If the Blue Meannies are evere going to catch me, they had best get off their fat asses + do something. Because the longer they fiddle + fart around, the more slaves I will collect for my after life. I do have to give them credit for stumbling across my riverside activity, but they are only finding the easy ones, there are a hell of a lot more down there. The reason I'm writing to the Times is this, They don't bury me on the back pages like some of the others.


In an interview with researcher Mike Butterfield, an RPD detective stated that there is a suspicion within his department that the author of the anonymous 1970 letter to Paul Avery linking the Zodiac to Riverside might also have counterfeited this letter. 1 Adding to this apparent mystery is the fact that another source has reported that SFPD Inspector David Toschi was also under suspicion for writing this letter. 2  There are no available facts to bolster either hypothesis.

A week later, the Zodiac sent another postcard, though an agent of the US Postal Service recognized and intercepted it before it was delivered.  The intended recipient was unclear: it was marked to Paul Avery's attention (again misspelled as "Averly"), but the address side bore no specific address -- just the names "The Times," "S.F. Examiner," and "San Francisco Chronicle" clipped from the respective newspapers.  A hole was punched through the upper left corner in lieu of a return address, above which the author had written the word "Zodiac."  Around the hole itself were four lines drawn in a fashion similar to the crossed-circle design used by the killer.  The entire perimeter of the card had been notched by a hole-punch.  The front of the card was decorated with a sketch of a condominium complex that had been under development at Incline Village, NV, near Lake Tahoe, by Boise/Interlake between 1967 and 1970. The same picture had appeared in the Chronicle three days earlier in an advertisement for the complex, known as Forest Pines.  

While the handwriting on this postcard is similar to that on confirmed Zodiac letters, it is not unmistakably the same, and the possibility exists that it is a forgery.  The use of the hole-punch and the misspelling of Paul Avery's name, however, are both traits of confirmed Zodiac cards and letters.

If this card was indeed genuine, it marked the last communication from the Zodiac for almost three years.


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