Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Zodiac Killer Mystery Solved After 40 Years

Zodiac's Last Call
Kerry Hamilton

SAN FRANCISCO-- San Francisco was caught in the grips of one of the most deadly and most elusive serial killers of the twentieth century. For two years the city was held hostage as at least five victims were murdered.

The killer evaded the law and taunted both the press and potential victims by disseminating coded messages indicating if he would strike again. One of his notes was not even deciphered. The murderer referred to himself as "Zodiac", a label which has stuck for over forty years.

San Francisco Police re-opened the case in 2007 after a seemingly futile search for the killer. Leads pointed to one potential suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen, but DNA evidence appeared to clear him.

In 2008 new evidence began to pour into the California State Police. However, it came from an incredible source. Franklin Howard, of Modesto, California, died in 2008 at the age of 91. Howard donated his entire estate to the California Historical Society due to the fact that he had no children. When the curators at a museum in Sacramento were going through the gifts, it became clear that Howard had a close relationship with another California native, former President Richard Nixon.

Some of the items given to the Historical Society include a folder from Nixon, including personal letters to Howard and his wife Beatrice. Also in the folder were sketches of symbols which were eerily close to those found in the Zodiac case.

Thinking that this was conspicuous, the Historical Society handed the folder to California State Police, which ran a handwriting analysis. Ink depression and pauses appeared to be very similar. In addition, Nixon's letters carried similar grammatical patterns and mistakes as the Zodiac.

Seeking further information, DNA from the Zodiac letters was reexamined. The DNA on the letters were not a match to Nixon's, although more advanced methods pointed to evidence that the letters had canine DNA. It was then speculated that Nixon had his beloved dog Checkers lick the letters shut.

Evidence has piled in on how Nixon was increasingly upset because of his 1962 loss in the California gubernatorial race against Pat Brown. The 5% loss came as a shock to Nixon, who almost clinched the Presidency in 1960 against John Kennedy.

Nixon became despondent over his loss and confidants have stated that Nixon blamed his loss on the "damn hippies." He was particularly resentful towards people in liberal San Francisco, which heavily supported Brown.

The ways that the killings in 1968-1969 were carried out have strongly suggested that the murderer had received military training. In particular, the method of silent assassination with a sidearm was only taught in the United States Navy, which Nixon served in during the Second World War.

Other evidence against Nixon was that on the days that the murders had taken place, he was always within 60 miles of San Francisco. This included in 1969, when he was already President. During each of those nights, recordings of the President are noticeably silent.

Nixon once mentioned the Zodiac killer in his 1968 campaign, stating that if he were elected, "Crime would shake in their boots, as Richard Nixon will have none of it."

Motives for the crime have been debated. One includes anger over the loss in 1962. Another points to Nixon wanting to show that crime was increasing in the late 1960s and how he was the 'law and order' candidate. There is also evidence that Nixon went to school with one of the victims.

The Nixon Estate has not made a formal announcement about these findings, and appears unlikely to do so.

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Anonymous said...

So the Zodiac Killer was President Richard Nixon?


Unknown said...

Nothing that man did would surprise me! LOL Nonetheless, while I believe the president and all politicians get away with "massive criminal activity," including actual murder on occasion, doodling similar to the Zodiac sketching and handwriting analysis indicating "similarity" to the Zodiac killer does not the ZODIAC KILLER make. Sensationalism such as this makes laughable press, but does not give the families of the victims any comfort; it only increases their pain in that the dead have become a "joke" to society in this article. Thanks, however, for the short laugh. :)

Anonymous said...

wow who would have thought that Richard Nixon Was going around murdering people.... how come we didn't catch this earlier...

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous! First of all only one one known victim was murdered in San Francisco the other known victims were murdered in Solano county, ca. This case has not been solved and this article is a joke, really. Trust me, if the case was solved it would be MAJOR news where I live. You see I live in Solano county. I've heard nothing about the case being solved and I would know because my parents were close friends of 2 of the teenage victims. Whoever wrote this article needs to fact check before putting"news" to print. What a complete disregard to the victims families. This really is upsetting and a LIE!

Anonymous said...

Actually recent 5 episode documentary on history channel reveals the name of Richard Nickson on the 340 code.. coincidence?