“I like killing people because it’s so much fun.”
In July of 1969, a letter arrived at The San Francisco Examiner newspaper containing those chilling words in a coded message. The sender: the soon-to-be-notorious Zodiac, a serial killer who terrorized Northern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a combination of grisly murders and bizarre public letters brimming with horrific threats, demented demands and mysterious ciphers teasing his identity.
That identity has stymied law-enforcement officials, professional code breakers and armchair criminologists alike for nearly five decades. While officially connected to five murders and two attempted murders, the Zodiac hinted he had killed at least 37 victims. After taunting the police and the public with nearly two dozen communiqués, he seemed to vanish in the late 1970s. But his twisted legacy endures, having inspired three real-life copycat killers and dozens of books, TV shows and movies—including, most famously, Clint Eastwood’s nemesis in the film “Dirty Harry.” Below, a chronology of both his known murders and several that show strong signs of the Zodiac hand:
Robert Domingos and his fiancé Linda Edwards were seniors at Lompoc High School in Santa Barbara County in Southern California. On Tuesday in early June, 1963, the couple decided to use the “Senior Ditch Day” to go sunbathing on a beach near Gaviota State Park. When the two teenagers didn’t return home by Wednesday, Robert’s father went to the beach and was horrified to discover their bodies lying together inside the remains of a crumbling shack. The victims, bound with rope, had apparently tried to escape, but were shot and killed with a .22- caliber weapon. Robert was shot 11 times and Linda had been shot nine times. The killer then dragged the bodies to the shack where he tried and failed to start a fire. Investigators had few leads but, in 1972, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s department announced a possible Zodiac connection. The beach killer used Winchester Western Super X ammunition, the same ammunition used by the Zodiac during the 1968 murders on Lake Herman Road. The Domingos/Edwards case also had similarities to the Zodiac’s attack of another young couple at Lake Berryessa in 1969.
RIVERSIDE (possible Zodiac)
Eighteen-year-old Cheri Josephine Bates lived with her father Joseph and was a student at Riverside City College in Riverside, California. On October 30, 1966, she left a note that read, “Dad— – went to the RCC library.” The next morning, her Volkswagen Beetle was found abandoned in the library parking lot, and her body was lying nearby between two houses. She had been stabbed several times and her throat was slashed. Police found a men’s Timex watch at the crime scene, a print from a military boot and some hairs in dried blood on the victim’s hand. Cheri Jo’s purse was intact, and an autopsy revealed no evidence of sexual assault. One month after the murder, the local newspaper and the police department received typewritten letters titled “The Confession” from someone who claimed to be the killer. The author wrote, “Miss Bates was stupid. She went to the slaughter like a lamb,” and added, “I am not sick. I am insane.” In April 1967, the newspaper, the police and Joseph Bates received virtually identical handwritten letters which read, “Bates had to die. There will be more.” The notes were signed with a symbol which resembled the letter “Z.”
In 1969, Riverside police contacted investigators in Northern California regarding the similarities between the Zodiac crimes and the murder of Cheri Jo Bates. Sherwood Morrill, then documents examiner for the California Department of Justice, concluded that the Zodiac was responsible for the notes linked to the Bates case. The “Riverside connection” was later revealed to the public by Paul Avery, reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle. Zodiac then sent a letter to The Los Angeles Times indicating that the killer confirmed the theory that he had killed Bates. The Zodiac wrote, “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.” Years later, Riverside police rejected the Zodiac theory and focused on a man who they said was a jilted former lover of Bates. In the late 1990s, police obtained a sample of the suspect’s DNA to compare with the DNA taken from the hairs found in the victim’s hand in 1966. The DNA didn’t match, and the suspect denied any involvement in the murder.
Five nights before Christmas, high school students Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday set out on their first official date together, promising Betty Lou’s parents they’d be home by 11:00 PM. Shortly after that time, passing motorists saw the Rambler and its occupants parked at a lovers’ lane spot along Lake Herman Road in Benicia, California. Moments later, another driver noticed two seemingly lifeless bodies on the side of the road. Benicia police and others responded to the scene and discovered Betty Lou dead, with five bullet wounds in her back. David was found next to the Rambler with a bullet wound in his head, still breathing but near death. Bullet holes in the car’s roof and back window indicated that the killer may have fired warning shots to force the victims out of the vehicle. Shell casings recovered at the crime scene identified ammunition as Winchester Western Super X copper-coated. Ballistic evidence indicated that the killer used a .22-caliber, possibly a J. C. Higgins Model 80 semiautomatic pistol. Investigators believed the two teenagers were likely random targets killed by a stranger for unknown reasons.
Twenty-two-year-old Darlene Ferrin was a wife, mother and a popular waitress at a Vallejo restaurant. On the night of July 4, she picked up friend Michael Mageau and stopped her Corvair in the parking lot of Blue Rock Springs Park. Michael later told police that another vehicle pulled into the lot around midnight and then left only to return minutes later. The driver got out of the car, shined a bright light and fired into the Corvair with a 9mm handgun. Michael was shot in the jaw, shoulder and leg; Darlene was hit several times. At 12:40 PM, in a call later traced to a gas-station pay phone, a man rang the Vallejo police department and claimed responsibility for the shooting as well as the murders on Lake Herman Road. According to the police dispatcher, the caller spoke in a low, monotonous voice, saying: “I want to report a murder. If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway, you will find kids in a brown car. They were shot with a 9-millimeter Luger. I also killed those kids last year. Goodbye.” Darlene died on arrival at the hospital, but Michael survived. Investigators were unable to identify any viable suspects.
1 – Letter to the Vallejo Times-Herald, postmarked July 31, 1969. The writer claimed responsibility for the two shootings and provided details about the victims, the weapons, the number of shots fired and the brand of ammunition.
2 – Letter to The San Francisco Chronicle, postmarked July 31, 1969. One of three virtually identical letters accompanied by one-third of a cipher. The writer demanded publication of the letters and ciphers by Friday, August 1st.
3 – Letter to The San Francisco Examiner, postmarked July 31, 1969. The writer threatened to kill again if newspapers did not publish the cipher, which included the words, “I like killing people because it’s so much fun.”
4 – Three-page letter received by the Examiner on August 4, 1969 Sent in response to police asking for information to prove the writer actually committed the murders, this was the first use of the name “the Zodiac.”
On a Saturday in late September, college students Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard were relaxing along the shore of Lake Berryessa, some 30 miles north of Napa, California. A man appeared holding a gun and wearing a hooded costume with a white crossed-circle stitched over the chest. Explaining that he had escaped from a prison and needed money and a car to escape to Mexico, the stranger bound their wrists with pre-cut lengths of plastic clothesline. Without warning, he plunged a large knife into Bryan’s back six times. He then stabbed Cecelia 10 times as she fought for her life. The man then walked to Bryan’s car, and used a pen to draw a crossed-circle on the door with the dates and locations of the previous attacks, the date “Sept 27 69,” the time “6:30,” and the notation, “by knife.” At 7:40 PM, a man called the Napa police department to report “a double murder.” The caller described Bryan’s car, directed police to the scene of the crime, and confessed, “I’m the one who did it.” Police traced the call to a pay phone at a car wash in Napa. Cecelia died two days later, but Bryan survived.
5 – Message written on the passenger door of victim Bryan Hartnell’s Volkswagen Karmann Ghia, which included the dates of the two shootings. Sherwood Morrill, the California Department of Justice documents examiner, concluded that the door message was written by the author of the “Zodiac” letters.
Paul Stine, a 28-year-old student and husband, worked as a cab driver in San Francisco. That night, Stine picked up a fare headed for a destination in the upscale Presidio Heights neighborhood. At the intersection of Washington and Cherry Streets, the passenger shot Stine in the head and removed a piece of the victim’s shirt. The man walked away just before police arrived, but the police radio broadcast mistakenly described the suspect as a black man, and passing officers dismissed a white man resembling the correct description. Fingerprints found on the driver’s side of the cab may have belonged to the killer and a sketch was produced based on descriptions provided by witnesses. The case was considered a routine robbery until the office of The San Francisco Chronicle received an envelope with a letter from “The Zodiac” which began with the words, “I am the murderer of the taxi driver.” The envelope also contained a blood-stained piece of Paul Stine’s shirt. The Zodiac denied he left fingerprints and claimed the police sketch was inaccurate because he had worn a disguise.
6 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked October 13, 1969. The writer mocked police for failing to catch him and threatened to shoot children on a school bus. The envelope contained a piece of the blood-stained shirt belonging to victim Paul Stine.
7 – Envelope to the Chronicle, postmarked November 8, 1969, containing another piece of the cab driver’s shirt, a humorous greeting card and another cipher consisting of 340 symbols. The writer added, “Des July Aug Sept Oct = 7,” a possible reference to more unidentified victims.
8 – Seven-page letter to the Chronicle, postmarked November 9, 1969. The longest message from Zodiac claimed that police stopped him near a crime scene but let him go. Zodiac also included a bomb recipe and a diagram of the explosive.
9 – Letter addressed to famous attorney Melvin Belli, postmarked December 20, 1969. The writer feared he would kill again and asked Belli to intercede. The letter ended, “Please help me I can not remain in control for much longer.”
MODESTO AREA (possible Zodiac)
On a Sunday in late March, 22-year-old Kathleen Johns packed her infant daughter into a station wagon and left San Bernardino, California to visit her sick mother in Petaluma, in the northern part of the state. Kathleen was also seven months pregnant with the child of her long-time boyfriend. As she travelled on Highway 132 near Modesto, another vehicle pulled alongside the station wagon and the driver appeared to signal that Kathleen should pull over. On the side of the road, the driver explained that the back wheel of Kathleen’s station wagon was loose, but he promised to fix the problem. Instead, he loosened the lug nuts and the wheel fell off as Kathleen tried to drive away. The man then offered to drive Kathleen to a gas station, but she climbed into his car and discovered he appeared to have other plans. She claimed he also made veiled threats to harm her child. Eventually, Kathleen grabbed her daughter and jumped from the car. A passing driver took Kathleen to a nearby police station where she identified the stranger from a police sketch of the Zodiac. Months later, a Zodiac letter mentioned “a rather interesting ride” with a woman and her baby.
10 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked April 20, 1970. Included: a 13-symbol cipher and a diagram of a bomb designed to kill children on a school bus. The Zodiac denied responsibility for a recent police-station bombing that killed an officer.
11 – Greeting card to the Chronicle, postmarked April 28, 1970. Inside the card, the Zodiac demanded publication of his bomb threats and insisted that the people of the San Francisco Bay Area wear “Zodiac buttons” featuring his chosen symbol, the crossed-circle.
12 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked June 26, 1970, containing a map of the San Francisco Bay Area with a crossed-circle on the peak of Mt. Diablo and a code to locate the Zodiac’s bomb. The writer claimed he killed again.
13 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked July 24, 1970. The Zodiac complained that people weren’t wearing his crossed-circle “Zodiac buttons,” and he claimed that he was responsible for the failed abduction of pregnant mother Kathleen Johns on March 22, 1970.
14 – Five-page letter to the Chronicle, postmarked July 26, 1970. The Zodiac described torturing his victims and quoted from the Gilbert and Sullivan musical “The Mikado.” The letter also explained that the “Mt. Diablo code” concerned geometric angles known as “radians.”
LAKE TAHOE (possible Zodiac)
A postcard attributed to the Zodiac featured an advertisement for a condominium project in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, with the phrases “pass Lake Tahoe areas” and “Sought Victim 12.” Some interpreted the cryptic message as a clue to the disappearance of 25-year-old Donna Lass. In May 1970, Donna worked in San Francisco at Letterman General Hospital, located on the Presidio military base near the area where the Zodiac killed a cabdriver. Donna moved northeast to South Lake Tahoe and found work as a nurse for the Sahara Hotel and Casino. On September 6, 1970, Donna vanished sometime after the last entry in her work logbook at 1:50 AM. Her car was later found abandoned near her apartment. According to some accounts, an unidentified man called Donna’s employer and her landlord, claiming she had to leave town due to a family emergency. Donna’s family told authorities there was no such emergency, and the man was never identified. Investigators suspected Donna had been abducted and killed, but her body was never found. Her disappearance remained a mystery and her name was added to long list of possible Zodiac victims.
15 – Suspected “Zodiac” postcard postmarked October 5, 1970, with a message constructed with text clipped from other sources. The words “The pace isn’t any slower! In fact it’s just one big” were clipped from the comic strip “Smidgens.”
16 – Halloween card sent to Chronicle reporter Paul Avery, postmarked October 27, 1970. The writer misspelled Avery’s name as “Averly,” and the number “4-teen” was interpreted as a possible reference to an unidentified 14th victim.
17 – Letter addressed to The Los Angeles Times, postmarked March 13, 1971. In it, Zodiac suggested he was responsible for the unsolved murder of Cheri Jo Bates near Riverside City College on October 30, 1966.
18 – Postcard to Chronicle reporter Paul Avery, postmarked March 22, 1971. The writer once again misspelled Avery’s name as “Averly.” The phrase, “Sought Victim 12,” was interpreted as a reference to the Donna Lass disappearance in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
The search for new leads in the Zodiac case led investigators across the United States to Albany, New York. The office of the Albany Times Union newspaper received an envelope postmarked August 1, 1973, with a crossed-circle drawn in the corner instead of a return address. The letter read, “YOU ARE WRONG I’M NOT DEAD OR IN THE HOSPITAL I AM ALIVE AND WELL AND IM GOING TO START KILLING AGAIN Below is the NAME AND LOCATION OF MY NEXT VICTIM But you had Better hurry because I’m going to kill Her August 10th at 5:00 P.M. when the shift change. ALBANY is a nice town.” Below the message, the writer included three rows of symbols. According to an FBI report, bureau cryptanalysts deciphered the coded message to read, “[REDACTED] Albany Medical Center. This is only the beginning.” Investigators were unable to identify any murders that could explain the vague reference to a victim on August 10. Handwriting experts could not determine if the new letter was prepared by the writer of the Zodiac letters, “due to the lack of significant characteristics” in the Albany message, but this possibility could not be eliminated based on the limited analysis.
19 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked January 29, 1974. The writer alluded to a possible suicide in another quote from the Gilbert and Sullivan musical “The Mikado.” The notation “Me – 37, SFPD – 0” was interpreted as a “box score” indicating 37 victims.
20 – Postcard to the Chronicle, postmarked February 14, 1974. The writer referred to the SLA, or Symbionese Liberation Army, a group of militant urban guerrillas responsible for the abduction of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. This message was signed, “a friend.”
21 – Card to the Chronicle, postmarked May 8, 1974. This message from “a citizen” complained about the “glorification of violence” in newspaper ads for the movie “The Badlands” about the killing spree by Richard Starkweather and his 14-year-old girlfriend.
22 – Letter to the Chronicle, postmarked July 8, 1974. The writer complained that Chronicle columnist “Count” Marco Spinelli suffered from a “serious psychological disorder” and should be sent “back in the hell-hole.” This letter was signed, “the Red Phantom.”
VIDEO: Codebreaking 101
Tune in to HISTORY to watch The Hunt For The Zodiac Killer, premiering Tuesdays at 10/9c.
Why You Shouldn't Freak Out That The Zodiac Killer Was Never Caught
The mystery of the Zodiac killer — named for the cryptic and taunting codes he'd send the media and police — has plagued both professional investigators and amateur sleuths for decades. There were five confirmed murders committed from the late 1960s to the early 1970s that are attributed to the Zodiac, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, but the killer claimed to have murdered 37 people. The History Channel is taking on the story once more in The Hunt For The Zodiac Killer, a series that will investigate the infamous code the killer used and attempt to solve the case once and for all. And there's one burning question most viewers have: Is the Zodiac killer still alive?
No one truly knows, of course, as the killer was never caught, but the case is so old now that the likelihood of the culprit still roaming the streets is slim to none. Let’s say that when the first widely agreed-upon Zodiac murder occurred in 1968, according to the Chronicle, the culprit was about 30 years old. The killer would be about 80 years old now, and 30 could even be a young estimate for how old he was when the murders took place. Even if the guilty party is still living, he's most likely an elderly man by now, and it’s not likely that he poses any kind of real threat to the public.
Of course, there have been suspects that police investigated, but just were never able to nail down with solid evidence. According to another San Francisco Chronicle report, Arthur Leigh Allen has typically been the suspect most closely associated to the real killer. The article states that despite the speculation, Allen’s DNA didn’t match that associated with the cryptic letters and puzzles the real Zodiac sent police and the media. There are, of course, ways he could have worked around leaving his DNA, like working alongside an accomplice of some kind, but we may never know. Allen died in 1992, according to Newsweek, but one investigator who worked on the case remains convinced that he was truly the one.
Robert Graysmith, who worked as a cartoonist at the San Francisco Chronicle when the murders were going on, said he doesn't think it's likely that anyone but Allen was responsible. “It turns out it rang some bells with [investigators in other cities] who all independently end up on Arthur Leigh Allen's doorstep,” he told Newsweek in 2007. “There are too many good detectives who all came to the same conclusion.” Graysmith — portrayed in the 2007 David Fincher film Zodiac by Jake Gyllenhaal — has written multiple best-selling books about his investigation of the anonymous killer. He added in the same Newsweek interview that he believes the DNA samples taken from the letters could have been compromised or tampered with in some way during the years they'd been held, which could've been the reason they didn't end up matching Allen's sample.
San Francisco police closed the case over a decade ago, citing an unmanageable workload, according to CBS News. "The case is being placed inactive," San Francisco police Lt. John Hennessey, head of the department's homicide unit at the time, told CBS in 2004. "Given the pressure of our existing caseload and the amount of cases that remain open at this time, we need to be most efficient at using our resources." Police said in the report that the case would be reopened if a “promising lead” ever came in. There have been many people who have claimed to know who the Zodiac killer is, but none have ever produced a compelling enough case for a solid answer to come to light.
The case has become almost like an urban legend — it's something we've all heard of and seen references to in pop culture and media. It's become something so otherworldly and strange that it's almost ingrained into American culture as a tall tale or a myth, and though we may not know for sure whether the Zodiac killer is still living, speculation will surely endure for years to come.
A brief history and timeline of the Zodiac Killer
Although other serial killers had far more victims, few killers in American history have intrigued and terrified the public like the man known as Zodiac.
Bettmann/Bettmann Archive The Zodiac Killer's first confirmed murders took place right before Christmas 1968. On Dec. 20, David Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16, were on their very first date. The pair pulled into a well-known lover's lane on Lake Herman Road in Benicia. Zodiac approached their vehicle and ordered them out at gunpoint. He opened fire, killing them both. Police had no leads until six months later.
Beth Spotswood On the night of July 4, 1969, Darlene Ferrin and Michael Mageau were sitting in their parked car at Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo. A car pulled up beside them, idled, then left. Some 10 minutes later, the car returned and parked behind them. Armed with a 9 mm pistol, both were shot as they sat in the car. Ferrin died, but Mageau, badly wounded, survived.
Chronicle Archive On Aug. 1, 1969, newspapers began to receive the first of Zodiac's famous letters. The Vallejo Times Herald, San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner all received letters from Zodiac boasting of his crimes and warning he'd strike again if the letters were not published on the front page. The letters also came with ciphers — Zodiac said whoever cracked them would learn his true identity.
Bettmann/Bettmann Archive The 408-symbol cipher was broken by an unlikely pair: Donald Harden, a teacher at Alisal High in Salinas, and his wife Bettye. The pair decided to buckle down over the weekend and crack it. By the end of the weekend, they'd done it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Zodiac didn't give his real name, but the note was suitably creepy. "I like killing people because it is so much fun it is more fun than killing wild game in the forrest because man is the most [sic] dangeroue animal of all," it read.
The Zodiac Killer
The seemingly random brutal murders of five people in California’s Bay Area in 1968 and 1969 and a series of taunting cryptic notes sent by their killer terrorized Northern California for years.
The self-proclaimed “Zodiac Killer” sent local newspapers a three-part coded message explaining his motive for the killings in 1969 and in a separate letter to the editor suggested his identity was buried within an elaborate cipher message. The decoded message did indeed reveal the killer’s twisted motive, but his identity remains a mystery.
The unsolved nature of the murders and the Zodiac Killer’s elaborate methods of communicating with the public and his pursuers still captures the imaginations of screenwriters, authors, true-crime buffs, forensic scientists, and, of course, law enforcement.
The murders did not fall under federal jurisdiction, so the FBI never opened an investigation. But a glance through the FBI’s public records on the case shows how local law enforcement agencies called on the FBI’s expertise in handwriting analysis, cryptanalysis, and fingerprints to aid their investigations.
The FBI’s role in 1969, much as it is today, was to support local law enforcement in their investigations. In the Zodiac Killer case, correspondence between law enforcement agencies in Northern California and forensic experts at the FBI’s Laboratory—in what was then called the Technical Evaluation Unit—shows our efforts to analyze handwriting samples and lift latent fingerprints from the letters and envelopes sent by the purported killer. FBI cryptanalysts, or code-breakers, were also enlisted to unravel a complex cipher that used more than 50 shapes and symbols to represent the 26 letters of the alphabet. Ultimately the code was made public and broken by two university professors.
But then, as now, the case illustrates the extent of partnerships between the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. Here’s a look at just some of the ways we support our partners in investigations:
The records in the Zodiac case, meanwhile, are just a sample of what is available for your review in our Electronic Reading Room, which contains thousands of records, including our probes of famous persons, available through the Freedom of Information Act.
The Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer is one of America’s most infamous serial killers. During the 1960s and 1970s, Zodiac murdered at least five people, often couples in secluded areas, near San Francisco. His first victim was Cheri Jo Bates. He wrote a confession about her, including a message to “beware…”
The media has been captivated by the Zodiac Killer because of his relationship with the media. Zodiac began sending coded messages taunting police to various newspapers very soon after his first murder. He signed these letters with a circle with a plus sign over it, his symbol. He infamously sent a cipher that said, “This is the Zodiac speaking. By the way have you cracked the last cipher I sent you? My name is…” This was followed by a series of 13 symbols that were supposed to be his name, encoded. To this day, this code has not been cracked.
The Zodiac Killer case remains unsolved. Although suspects have come forward – and continue to come forward, to this day – no one has been confirmed as the actual Zodiac Killer. Some of the more famous suspects include Arthur Leigh Allen, who was dismissed because of his handwriting sample, and Earl Van Best, Jr., more recently, who was accused by his son in a tell-all book, The Most Dangerous Animal of All.
Current status of investigations
In April 2004, the SFPD marked the case “inactive”, citing caseload pressure and resource demands, effectively closing the case. However, they re-opened their case sometime before March 2007.
In 2007, a man named Dennis Kaufman claimed that his stepfather Jack Tarrance was the Zodiac. Kaufman turned several items over to the FBI including a hood similar to the one worn by the Zodiac. According to news sources, DNA analysis conducted by the FBI on the items was deemed inconclusive in 2010.
In 2009, a lawyer named Robert Tarbox (who, in August 1975, was disbarred by the California Supreme Court for failure to pay some clients) said that in 1972 a merchant mariner walked into his office and confessed to him that he was the Zodiac Killer. The seemingly lucid seaman (whose name Tarbox would not reveal due to confidentiality) described his crimes briefly but persuasively enough to convince Tarbox. The man said he was trying to stop himself from his “opportunistic” murder spree but never returned to see Tarbox again. Tarbox took out a full-page ad in the Vallejo Times-Herald that he claimed would clear the name of Arthur Leigh Allen as a killer, his only reason for revealing the story thirty years after the fact. Robert Graysmith, the author of several books on Zodiac, said Tarbox’s story was “entirely plausible”. Retired police handwriting expert Lloyd Cunningham, who worked the Zodiac case for decades, added “they gave me banana boxes full of Allen’s writing, and none of his writing even came close to the Zodiac. Nor did DNA extracted from the envelopes (on the Zodiac letters) come close to Arthur Leigh Allen.”
In 2009, an episode of the History Channel television series MysteryQuest looked at newspaper editor Richard Gaikowski (1936–2004). During the time of the murders, Gaikowski worked for Good Times, a San Francisco counterculture newspaper. His appearance resembles the composite sketch, and Nancy Slover, the Vallejo police dispatcher who was contacted by the Zodiac shortly after the Blue Rock Springs Attack, has identified a recording of Gaikowski’s voice as being the same as the Zodiac’s.
The case is open in Napa County and in the city of Riverside.
Retired police detective Steve Hodel argues in his book The Black Dahlia Avenger that his father, George Hill Hodel, Jr., was the Black Dahlia killer whose victims include Elizabeth Short. The book led to the release of previously suppressed files and wire recordings by the Los Angeles district attorney’s office of his father which showed that he was a prime suspect in Short’s murder. District Attorney Steve Kaye, subsequently wrote a letter which is published in the revised edition stating that if George Hodel were still alive he would be prosecuted for the crimes. In a follow up book, Hodel argued a circumstantial case that his father was also the Zodiac Killer based upon a police sketch, the similarity of the style of the Zodiac letters to the Black Dahlia Avenger letters and questioned document examination.
On February 19, 2011, America’s Most Wanted featured a story about the Zodiac Killer. A picture has recently surfaced of known Zodiac victim Darlene Ferrin and a man who closely resembles the composite sketch, formed based on eyewitness’ descriptions, of the Zodiac Killer. Police believe the photo was taken in San Francisco in the middle of 1966 or 1967. Police hope someone can identify the man in the photo.
Former California Highway Patrol officer Lyndon Lafferty said the Zodiac killer was a 91-year-old Solano County, California man whom he called by the pseudonym “George Russell Tucker”. Using a group of retired law enforcement officers called the Mandamus Seven, Lafferty discovered “Tucker” and a cover-up for why he was not pursued. “Tucker” died in February 2012 and was not named because he was not considered a suspect by police.
In February 2014, it was reported that a man named Louie Myers had confessed to a friend in 2001 that he was the Zodiac Killer, after learning that he was dying from cirrhosis of the liver. He requested that his friend, Randy Kenney, go to the police upon his death. Myers died in 2002, but Kenney allegedly had difficulties getting officers to cooperate and take the claims seriously. There are several potential connections between Myers and the Zodiac case. Myers attended the same high schools as victims David Farraday and Betty Lou Jensen. Myers also allegedly worked in the same restaurant as victim Darlene Ferrin. Myers also had access to the same sort of military boot whose print was found at the Lake Berryessa crime scene. Furthermore, during the 1971–1973 period when no Zodiac letters were received, Myers was stationed overseas with the military. Kenney says that Myers confessed he targeted couples because he had had a bad breakup with a girlfriend. While officers associated with the case are skeptical, they believe the story is credible enough to investigate.
In May 2014, a book written by Gary Stewart was released, claiming his biological father, Earl Van Best, Jr., was the Zodiac Killer, without any confirmed evidence.
Preface: This is not a Zodiac killer website. I have, however, endeavored to be as comprehensive and as accurate as possible in my analysis of Kane’s life. Consequently, it was necessary – in places – to include certain documents and information (be it beneficial or detrimental to the case against Lawrence Kane) relevant to the Zodiac killer case. My inclusion of this material should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Kane’s candidacy as a suspect, nor should it be construed as an out-and-out repudiation. Those who wish to evaluate Lawrence Kane’s merits as a suspect in the Zodiac killer case are encouraged to visit Alex Lewis’s website at lawrencekanezodiac.wordpress.com. For a rebuttal, see Michael Butterfield’s website at zodiackillerfacts.com.
If you knew Lawrence Kane, or have any information concerning him, please send me an email at [email protected]
Hear Lawrence Kane speak (Recording made available courtesy of Rex Strother. For additional context, see https://lawrencekane.wordpress.com/#voice-recording):
(Brooklyn Daily Eagle. December 12, 1922.)
Lawrence Kane was born on April 29, 1924, (note: though he would, in later years, cite various other dates, this was the date recorded on his birth certificate – see NYC birth index listing below) in Brooklyn, NY, the eldest of three sons born to the union of Morris Haim (Harry) Klein and Sarah Benjamin. Both of Kane’s brothers expired in infancy. His father was an Austro-Hungarian immigrant (per his draft registration card, he claimed Austrian citizenship) and his mother was a native New Yorker of Russian parentage. He grew up in a working-class Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn’s Borough Park district.
(Above: Marriage certificate issued to Morris H. Klein and Sarah Benjamin. December 10, 1922. Information regarding Morris’s previous marriage is available here. I’ve assembled a rough genealogy for Lawrence Kane at the following address: https://i.imgur.com/xj1LVwY.png)
(NYC (Borough of Brooklyn) birth index listing for Lawrence Klein, alias Kane. April 29, 1924. Birth certificate number 18172. It’s important to note that the dates and locations of birth listed in the birth index were copied directly from the subjects’ birth certificates.)
(Birth certificate for Kane’s mother, Sarah Benjamin, showing a birth date of April 26, 1905. In his later years, Lawrence Kane sometimes listed his birth date as April 26, 1924, though, as illustrated above, his actual date of birth was April 29. Sarah’s mother, Frieda Pashkowitz, was later remarried to Hyman “Harry” Brodsky – see 1930 U.S. census listing.)
(1930 U.S. Census. Address: 4507 10th Ave., Brooklyn, NY. Full image here.)
(NYC Municipal Death Index listing for Kane’s younger brother, Bertram. Find A Grave link.)
(Credit: Harvey Hines Zodiackiller.com)
(1940 U.S. Census. Address: 4600 14th Ave., Brooklyn, NY. Full image here. On a side note: When I initially shared this information, I erroneously stated that Hyman (or Harry, as he was sometimes called) Brodsky was Sarah Benjamin’s biological father. In fact, he was her step-father. Kane’s maternal grandfather was Jacob Benjamin.)
Kane completed two years of high school in the state of New York before dropping from school to obtain employment.
(Credit: Mike Morford, Zodiackillersite.com)
(Above: On September 13, 1941, at the age of 17, Kane (then known as Lawrence Klein) submitted an application to the Social Security Board requesting to have his name legally changed from Lawrence Klein to Lawrence Kaye. Next to “reason for filing,” he wrote that the change would be “Beneficial for employment in my field” and listed his employer as “Worrall Chemist.” The New York Social Security Board granted this request on September 22, 1941.)
(Above (right): 4600 14th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. Circa 1939-1941. Attribution: NYC.gov 1940s.nyc)
(Asbury Park (NJ) Press. March 31, 1942. Regarding the reference to “hotel workers” – Lakewood, NJ, was a popular resort destination among wealthy New Yorkers during the first half of the twentieth century and was once home to the Resort Hotel Workers’ Union. As an itinerant performer working the resort hotel circuit (this is further elaborated upon below), it’s probable that Kane would have had engagements there.)
(Above: Kings Park State Psychiatric Hospital employment registration card for Sarah Benjamin.)
(Above: Military registration card (including physical description) for Lawrence Klein/L. Kaye, dated June 30, 1942. Kane lists his employer as Beckman & Pransky, a high-class entertainment management agency which supplied stage acts and theatrical productions to resort hotels in the Catskill Mountains. The following passage, taken from the book It Happened in the Catskills by Harvey and Myrna Katz Frommer, provides a concise summary of the agency (which was something akin to a theater troupe) and its operations: “Al Beckman and Johnny Pransky had something like a repertory theater going in the Mountains, making a circuit of different hotels. They placed weekly entertainment at each hotel: one night a concert, the next night a variety show, the next night a play, then a guest and staff show (…) Like traveling vaudeville, it moved from the Morningside to the Commodore to the Stevensville, and so on. (…) When the social staffs got smaller and entertainers began working the circuit, they selected one base hotel to stay at while they traveled around entertaining at different places. On Sunday nights, all the entertainers would go into Beckman and Pransky’s office in New York City to get their bookings for the week. They’d come back on Tuesday and begin their rounds.” Some of the more illustrious names employed as MCs for Beckman & Pransky include Red Buttons, Joey Adams, and Robert Alda. // Kane records his residence as the Van Cortland/Cortlandt Hotel, located at 142 West 49th Street in the Broadway Theatre District. There’s some evidence to suggest that Kane was also employed as a “song plugger” during this period, though I’ve yet to verify that.)
(Excerpt, the Hines report. Credit: Harvey Hines Zodiackiller.com.)
(Hotel Van Cortlandt, NYC. Ca. 1939-1941. Attribution: NYC.gov / 1940s.nyc)
(Excerpt from Rider McDowell’s On the Trail of the Zodiac, San Francisco Chronicle, May 08-15, 1994. Summary of military service. Source: zodiackiller.com/KH1.html. Kane received training at the ‘Radio Materiel School’ in Chicago during this period. Admissions to the Electronics Training Program — an exclusive, highly classified military training program for which the radio material school served as hub — were approved on the basis of a rigorous classification and aptitude examination called the Eddy Test. The test featured a series of timed, multiple-choice questions, devised to give some indication of the test taker’s mathematics/physics knowledge, creativity, reasoning ability, and general aptitude. The preliminary screening process for the Eddy Test was also notoriously stringent, with applicants being selected from those who demonstrated an exceptionally high aptitude on the Naval Entrance and Otis Higher Examinations. Of those selected to take the test, only an estimated fifteen percent passed. Studies indicate that those admitted to the Electronics Training Program scored, on average, in the top two or three percent of Intelligence Quotient in the Nation. The fact that he passed the Eddy Test would also seem to suggest that Kane, despite receiving a meager formal education, had a fairly advanced understanding of mathematics and electronic componentry. From Wikipedia: “The Electronics Training Program (ETP) was the name commonly used for an unusual, difficult, and selective training activity of the United States Navy during World War II. The ETP combined college-level classroom instruction with laboratories involving highly complex electronic systems that were classified Secret, resulting in a level of training reported to have been the most intense and difficult ever given to enlisted servicemen.(…) Other than the designation “Radio (or Electronics) Technician Training,” no official name appears on records for the overall program however, Electronics Training Program (ETP) was the commonly used name. Official records sometimes show different names for the two levels of schools: Elementary Electricity & Radio Materiel (EE&RM) rather than Primary, and Advanced Radio Materiel (ARM) rather than Secondary. Since there was little “elementary” content in the EE&RM curriculum, these initials were usually taken to mean Electrical Engineering & Radio Materiel. (…) Admission to Pre-Radio required passing what came to be known as the Eddy Test, having an estimated 15-percent pass rate (…) The ETP (Radio Materiel) was reported to be the most difficult technical instruction ever given to enlisted personnel. Therefore, the Eddy Test needed to identify students with the basic capability and psychological fitness to pursue such instruction. The Test was noted to have been very successful for this purpose. (…) There was a firm pass-fail criteria for grading the Eddy Test, and a second chance was not allowed therefore, it was necessary to have a central point for both grading and recording the test results. This was done by a team of WAVES at Radio Chicago. The content of the Eddy Test was tightly controlled – no public available copies are known to exist.” Upon passage of the Eddy Test and completion of basic training, Kane would have been transferred to the “Pre-Radio” school at Chicago’s Naval Reserve Armory. I’ve included some contemporary newspaper references to the P.R.S./Naval Armory at the following link: https://i.imgur.com/cTJ0UFa.png )
(Above: Naval Reserve Armory, Chicago, IL.)
“Official military records indicated the suspect entered the United States Naval Reserve February 12, 1943, and received a good conduct discharge under honorable conditions on September 28, 1943. A report by the Medical Survey Board indicated that while attending Radio Material School at Chicago, Illinois, the suspect was admitted to the sick list on June 9, 1943 (…)”
(Overview of Lawrence Kane’s military service, including dates of enlistment and discharge. Attribution: Fold3.com)
(Letter from “L. Kaye” to Eileen Barton, postmarked June 07, 1943, Chicago, IL. A special thank you to Eileen Barton researcher Rex Strother for discovering this.)
Recorded letter (phonograph recording) no. 1 from Larry Kaye to Eileen Barton, dated June 06, 1943. Once again, I would like to extend my gratitude to Eileen Barton archivist and researcher Rex Strother for finding this recording (which is, to the best of my knowledge, the only extant recording of Lawrence Kane’s voice) and for taking the time and effort to have it transferred. Click the play button below to listen:
A note concerning record # 1: At the twenty-five-second mark of the recording, Kaye does a brief riff on the song The Patty Cake Man by Roy Jordan (stage name for songwriter/song plugger Roy Jacobs). He refers to Jordan (with whom he was apparently acquainted) as Roy Berlin, a sarcastic reference to famed composer Irving Berlin. Pop-jazz vocalist Ella Mae Morse recorded a rendition of this song in 1944, which can be found on YouTube. Kane references the song’s lyrics again in a subsequent recording (see below), with the “Putta-hacky-sacky-facky” Island bit being a subtle nod to the song’s nonsensical refrain.
Recorded letter no. 2 from Larry Kaye to Eileen Barton, dated June 06, 1943. This would appear to be a “mock” apology for the previous recording. Credit: Rex Strother –
Transcript for recording number two (listen above): “This record is not endorsed by the United States Navy or any of its auxiliary organizations. Any similarity to persons living is almost as bad off as Eileen Barton. I would at this time like to take advantage of the fact that anyone who should be listening to this record cannot talk back to me and cannot interrupt my chain of thought. I would like at this time to make apologies for the record, number one in this series, entitled “Gallitzin, Here I Come, or, Five Graves to Altoona.” At the time of the making of the record, the young man who made it was under the influence of spirits…of ’76, but I’m sure it was 176, all straight. Blues: When the train ride was over, he had the strangest idea that he had pulled the train all the way from New York by means of a rope tied to his hair – oh, my head – but to continue, he then went to this fine place and made a record that will set progress back 150 years. He then went to a hotel to sleep it off – all 176 of them. When he awoke, he realized the mistake he had made. He jumped on his pogo stick and rushed over to try to (audio cuts out)(…)He left no table unturned. In fact, he even swept the floor. (audio cuts) But it was all to no avail. (Alas,) it was gone. The die was cast. The fates had played their little game. So, as the setting sun sets beyond the isle of Putta-hacky-sacky-facky (whatever it is) Island, and his Sagittarian love, who is by birth under the sign of zodiac a hot-tempered and very non-understanding person, figures out ways to torture him for his wrong – not ordinary tortures, mind you, but fiendish, diabolical things, like waiting for nine hours on line to hear four girls in back of them blow their undernourished (?) (audio cuts) – all he hopes and prays is that some night, when she feels very, very lonely and in a very, very understanding mood, she will (audio cut) reason for that record, and will do (humanity) a favor and destroy it. (unintelligible)”
Another interesting aspect of the recordings is Kane’s seeming affinity for (and frequent utilization of) wordplay, particularly malapropisms: “to go from the ridiculous to the more ridiculous” in lieu of the familiar “from the sublime to the ridiculous” “left no table unturned” instead of “no stone unturned” “spirits of ” “Five Graves to Altoona” versus “Five Graves to Cairo”.
Recording/letter scans, courtesy of researcher Rex Strother:
(Above: Recording/letter addressed to Eileen Barton, courtesy of Rex Strother.)
(The New York Evening Post. July 01, 1943. Bushkill Falls Villa was a popular hotel resort located in the Pocono Mountains.)
(The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 02, 1945. Additional information concerning Lester Lee (who was actually named Lester Lees) and his connection to Larry Kane is available further down the page.)
(The Olean Times Herald. June 25, 1945.)
(Marriage License issued to Larry Kaye (Kane) and Eileen Phylis Barton, July 07, 1945. Credit: Rex Strother – https://www.flickr.com/photos/rstrother/5291736729/in/photolist-8Y5zgd-hJJ5iF-9NV9fn-8QypXu-94BwYa-eENwA1. Per the license, Kane was residing at the Hotel Monterey, situated at the intersection of Broadway & W. 94th St. in Manhattan. It should also be noted that Kane gives the incorrect name and country of origin for his father – Morris Kaye rather than Morris Klein and USA rather than Hungary.)
(Larry Kaye and Eileen Barton, NYC marriage registry. July 07, 1945. From Wikipedia: “Eileen Barton was an American singer best known for her 1950 hit song, “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake.” (…) Eileen’s parents, Benny and Elsie Barton, were vaudeville performers. (Note: Eileen’s father, Ben Barton, was Frank Sinatra’s music publisher.) She first appeared in her parents’ act in Kansas City at age 2½, singing “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” as a dare to her parents from columnist (and later radio star) Goodman Ace. At 3½, she appeared at the Palace Theater, doing two shows a day as part of comedian (and Three Stooges creator) Ted Healy’s routine (…) Barton soon became a child star. By age 6, she appeared on The Horn and Hardart Children’s Hour, a radio program sponsored by Horn & Hardart’s Automat, a then-well-known restaurant chain, and, by age 7, in 1936-37, she was working with Milton Berle on his Community Sing radio program, using the name “Jolly Gillette” (Eileen Barton’s “Jolly Gillette” character was famously parodied in the 1937 Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes short “The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos”) and playing the sponsor’s “daughter” (the sponsor was Gillette Razors). She would ask to sing, he would tell her she couldn’t, and she would remind him that her daddy was the sponsor, so he’d let her sing a current hit song. She also was a regular on The Milton Berle Show in 1939. (…) She co-starred on Frank Sinatra’s (radio) show beginning August 16, 1944, and was also part of Sinatra’s act at the Paramount Theater in 15 appearances there. She also appeared on her own and as a guest performer with such stars as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, and Danny Kaye. In 1945, Barton had her own radio program, Teen Timers. That November, the program’s name was changed to The Eileen Barton Show. It was broadcast Saturday mornings on NBC. ” On April 13, 1948, Eileen Barton married talent agent and “construction biggie” Irwin “Wynn” Lassner in St. Petersburg, FL. For more information regarding Eileen Barton, see eileenbarton.com)
(Eileen Barton with Frank Sinatra. Circa 1944 and 1945.)
(Eileen Barton gracing the cover of Downbeat Magazine. May 1946.)
(Eileen Barton newspaper references. 1944 – February 20, 1947.)
(Above: Hotel Monterey, NYC. Circa 1939-1941. Attribution: NYC.gov / 1940s.nyc)
(Jersey Journal (Jersey City, NJ). August 06, 1945. The address furnished by Kane in the article above – 15 Washington Ave., Belleville, NJ – was not a residential address but was instead the location of his contracting office. From 1945 to 1947, in collaboration with James and Eleanor Sorce, he operated the North Jersey Construction Co., a siding and remodeling firm. Lester Leese (actually spelled Lees) was an agent/song plugger for M. Witmark Music Publishers. He (Lees) would later become sales executive for a succession of record labels, including Atlantic Records and United Artists. At the time of the incident described in the article above, Lees was employed as tour manager for singer/songwriter and bandleader Louis Prima. He also managed bandleader Jerry Wald.)
(The Newark Star-Ledger. April 29, 1947. See clipping above. The North Jersey Construction Co. also traded under the names Modern Kitchens, Inc. and North Newark Roofing Supply Co.)
(Bizapedia profile for trade name North Jersey Construction Co.)
(The Newark Star-Ledger. June 28, 1946.)
(The Toledo Blade. August 05, 1946. Taken from Dorothy Kilgallen’s syndicated Voice of Broadway column.)
(The Laredo Times. August 30, 1946. Taken from Walter Winchell’s Coast to Coast column.)
(The San Luis Obispo Telegram. October 22, 1946. Note the names of the arrested parties – Larry Kaye, Larry Kay, and Max Schulman. I haven’t been able to conclusively identify Max Schulman, though it’s possible that this was the same Max Schulman who had been arrested in Chicago earlier that year for “attempting to steal racing information.”)
(The Pasadena Independent. October 23, 1946.)
(Another variant of the articles featured above, taken from the October 22, 1946 edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Note that the article’s heading refers to Kane as a “gangster.”)
(The Paterson (NJ) Morning Call. October 19, 1946.)
(The Wyckoff (NJ) News. December 05, 1946.)
09-22-1947, Hackensack, NJ – Kane arrested on charges of conspiracy and fraud. Acquitted. “The Grand Jury for and in the county of Bergen, State of New Jersey, returned an indictment against the defendant (Kane) and his company, who were knowingly engaged in defrauding homeowners. The scheme, which seemed to be very widespread, was to have some high pressure salesman canvass homes and induce victims to have new sidings put on their homes. They were told that if their house was used as a model, they would get a commission on all the neighborhood business and the commissions would offset their indebtedness so that they could get their work done for free. They were promised that shrubbery would be planted and their homes would be made to look very attractive. The victims signed [what they believed to be] an application for bank credit and actually what they signed was a note and certificate of completion. These notes and completion certificates were then handed over to the General Roofing and Supply Corporation, a home installation company. The bank would then notify the makers that they expected payment on account but would not say who discounted the note, and therefore, the victim had no way of knowing who to complain to in order to register a complaint. According to a report made by the prosecutor in that jurisdiction, the above all came about through some very smart people taking advantage of the Federal Housing Act, and it was his opinion that if the prosecutor’s office had the time and facilities to pursue an investigation to completion, an indictment should have been returned which might have resulted in the conviction of some of the above mentioned law violators. However, subsequent investigation by the prosecutor’s office indicated that as drawn, the indictment could not be moved forward successfully and it was his recommendation that the indictment be nolle prossed. The prosecutor felt that the offense was of such an involved character that it resulted in the Grand Jury and the draftsman for the indictment both being confused. He further felt that it would probably take one person many months to understand and draw the proper kind of an indictment and present the matter properly to a trial jury.“
(The Bergen Evening Record. September 23, 1947.)
(The Bergen Evening Record. September 24, 1947. Seymour Gruber.)
(The Bergen Evening Record. October 08, 1947)
(Above: FHA provision listings for Irving Troy and Al Barton (Kane?), 03-17-1948, Housing Act of 1954, List of Dealers Subject to the Provisions of Regulation VIII, Sec. 2. See newspaper articles above for context.)
(Federal Housing Act, Directory of Licensed Dealers. 1948-1949. Residences listed as NYC and Lakewood, NJ.)
(The Milwaukee Sentinel. June 19, 1948. Taken from Walter Winchell’s On Broadway column. The Harem Club was a fashionable New York City nightclub located at the intersection of Broadway & W. 49th St., a two minute walk from Kane’s previous residence at the Van Cortlandt Hotel.)
(Above: Dottie (or Dotty) Langdon/Langan, better known as Dory Previn. From Wikipedia: “Dorothy Veronica Previn (née Langan October 22, 1925 – February 14, 2012) was an American lyricist, singer-songwriter and poet. During the late 1950s and 1960s she was a lyricist on songs intended for motion pictures and, with her then husband, André Previn, received several Academy Award nominations. In the 1970s, after their divorce, she released six albums of original songs and an acclaimed live album.”)
(Dory Previn, Bog-trotter: An Autobiography With Lyrics, 1980. See newspaper clippings above.)
(The Times Recorder. July 06, 1948.)
08/25/1949, Albany, NY – Kane arrested on grand larceny charge. He was able to have this charge dismissed by taking advantage of a loophole in then-existing contract laws. This was a recurrent theme in Kane’s fraud arrests/lawsuits over the years. A business associate later recounted that Kane “has an amazing knowledge of civil law.”
(The Freeport Daily Review. August 27, 1949.)
(The Albany Times-Union. August 27, 1949.)
(The Freeport Daily Review. August 31, 1949.)
(The Utica Daily Observer. November 29, 1949.)
(The Utica Observer-Dispatch. December 17, 1949.)
(The Utica Observer-Dispatch. December 20, 1949.)
(The New York Daily News. April 03, 1950.)
(The Schenectady Gazette. April 03, 1950. Taken from Dorothy Kilgallen’s Voice of Broadway column. From Wikipedia: “Max Everitt Rosenbloom was an American professional boxer, actor, and television personality. Nicknamed “Slapsie Maxie”, he was inducted into The Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1972, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1985, and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.”)
(The Utica Daily Press. June 19, 1950.)
(The Utica Daily Observer. December 13, 1950.)
(The Utica Observer Dispatch. January 03, 1951.)
(The Long Island Journal. April 21, 1952. From Wikipedia: “Denise Darcel was a French vaudevillian, actress and singer, who from 1948 to 1963, appeared in films in Hollywood, and briefly on theatre, television and radio…born as Denise Billecard in Paris, she was one of five daughters of a French baker,and she was college educated, studying at the University of Dijon…A winner of the title “The Most Beautiful Girl in France,” Darcel was a cabaret singer in Paris after World War II before being spotted by Hollywood. Denise came to the United States in 1947 and became an American citizen in 1952. Her first film appearance of note was in Battleground (1949). She made quite an impression in Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950) opposite Lex Barker, then co-starred with Robert Taylor in Westward the Women (1952) and Glenn Ford in Young Man with Ideas (1952). In 1953, she was seen in the swimming musical Dangerous When Wet, which starred Esther Williams (1953). Her most important film was Vera Cruz (1954) where she played the female lead opposite Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster.” For a celebrity gossip columnist to characterize him as “well-heeled”, Kane must have been very dapper indeed.)
(The San Antonio Express. April 30, 1952.)
(The New York Daily News. June 11, 1952.)
(The New York Daily News. June 11, 1952.)
(The New York Daily News. June 11, 1952.)
(The New York Times. June 10, 1952.)
(The New York Post. June 11, 1952.)
(New Castle News. June 11, 1952.)
(The Ogden Examiner. June 11, 1952.)
(The Boston Daily Record. June 11, 1952.)
(The Boston Daily Record. June 12, 1952.)
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 17, 1952. Kane’s address is given as 400 East 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan. A New York Supreme Court transcript from the 1940s describes this address as an “exclusive and high-rental (price)” apartment house.)
(Above (center): 400 East 57th Street, NYC. Ca. 1939-1941. Attribution: NYC.gov / 1940s.nyc)
(The Binghamton Post. June 17, 1952.)
(Above: Johnnie Johnston and Shirley Carmel (née Swede). Source: historicimages.com)
(The New York Times. June 17, 1952.)
(The New York Daily News. June 17, 1952. Kane’s lawyer, Martin Benjamin, was a “high price” Theatrical lawyer and television personality. Despite sharing a surname with Kane’s mother, he doesn’t appear to have been related.)
(The Beaumont Journal. June 17, 1952.)
(The Bridgeport Post. June 17, 1952.)
(The Utica Daily Press. June 19, 1952. The final paragraph is appended here for legibility: “Although “unemployed,” Kaye’s address is a luxurious apartment in New York City. While in Utica, he also maintained a swank “summer house” on Wellesley Island near Alexandria Bay. New York City police describe him as a “man about town” and a frequenter of swank East Side nightclubs.” I’d also like to draw attention to the following passage: “A former associate of Kaye said yesterday that he (Kaye) “has an amazing knowledge of civil law.” He maintains that Kaye’s legal knowledge and his selling technique “will get him out of this scrape.””This prediction proved accurate.
“…One complainant has filed an information against Kaye…” As no such charges ever (apparently) materialized, it’s probably safe to assume that this was contested and struck down.)
(The Utica Observer-Dispatch. June 19, 1952.)
(The Indianapolis News. June 17, 1952.)
(The New York Daily News. June 18, 1952.)
(Pacific Stars & Stripes. June 19, 1952.)
(The Long Beach Press Telegram. June 23, 1952.)
(The Philadelphia Inquirer. June 23, 1952. Taken from Walter Winchell’s column.)
(The Schenectady Gazette. June 24, 1952. Dorothy Kilgallen, Voice of Broadway.)
(The Elmira Star-Gazette. June 26, 1952.)
(The Windsor (Ontario, Canada) Daily Star. June 17, 1952.)
(The Schenectady Gazette. July 07, 1952. Taken from Dorothy Kilgallen’s Voice of Broadway column.)
(The New York Daily News. July 13, 1952.)
(The Philadelphia Inquirer. July 16, 1952.)
(The New York Daily News. July 31, 1952.)
(The Utica Daily Press. July 31, 1952.)
(The Sarasota Herald Tribune. May 16, 1953.)
(The Chicago Tribune. May 29, 1953.)
(The Lubbock Morning Avalanche. May 30, 1953.)
(The Asbury Park (NJ) Press. July 08, 1953.)
(The New York Daily News. October 04, 1953.)
(The Utica Daily Press. January 26, 1954. From the article: “New York Police had arrested Kaye three times before, but each time the charge was dismissed. Well known by the Better Business Bureau here for complaints received about his work, the salesman’s “sentence” in the New York case was predicted here last June by a former associate. The man, who worked with Kaye at the establishment at 201 Washington from May to November, 1950, said Kaye’s “amazing knowledge of civil law…will get him out of this scrape.”)
(The New York Daily News. January 26, 1954.)
(The New York Times. February 12, 1954.)
(The New York Daily News. From Danton Walker’s Broadway column. June 12, 1954.)
(The Poughkeepsie Journal. June 13, 1954.)
(The Poughkeepsie Journal. July 09, 1954.)
(The Milwaukee Star-Tribune. December 22, 1954. From wikipedia: “Lana Turner was an American actress. Over the course of her nearly 50-year career, she achieved fame as both a pin-up model and a film actress, as well as for her highly publicized personal life. In the mid-1940s, she was one of the highest-paid actresses in the United States, and one of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s (MGM) biggest stars, with her films earning the studio more than $50 million during her 18-year contract with them. Turner is frequently cited as a popular culture icon of Hollywood glamour and a screen legend of classical Hollywood cinema.”)
(Walter Winchell, On Broadway. December 24, 1954.)
(1955 entry for Outerwalls, Inc. in the Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable and Worthless Securities.)
(The New Orleans Times Picayune. August 28, 1957.)
(The New Orleans Times Picayune. November 06, 1957. Interestingly, this vehicle still exists: 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible # D7FH195739)
(New Orleans City Directory, 1958.)
(The New Orleans Times-Picayune. September 27, 1958.)
(The New Orleans Times Picayune. January 30, 1959.)
(The New Orleans Times-Picayune. August 27, 1959.)
09-05-1959, Hattiesburg, MS – Kane arrested on charges of adultery, disturbing the peace, and assault and battery.
(The Hattiesburg (MS) American. September 11, 1959. Kane’s co-defendant on the ‘lewdness’/adultery charge was 22-year-old Barbara Marx. At the time of Marx’s involvement with Kane, she was married to Elliot I. Marx, the operator of a local private detective agency. See clippings below.)
(The New Orleans Times Picayune. October 1958.)
(New Orleans City Directory, 1960.)
(The New Orleans Times Picayune. September 30, 1959.)
(The New Orleans Times-Picayune. October 08, 1959. The ‘premises’ in question likely refer to commercial property located at the corner of Broad and Cleveland (136 S. Broad Ave.) in New Orleans. See newspaper clipping below.)
(The New Orleans Times-Picayune. September 09, 1958. See clipping/note above.)
(Above: Compilation of Times-Picayune want ads from the relevant period showing 136 S. Broad as a contact address. Research (a portion of which I’ve included above) indicates that Kane was the leaseholder on this address. According to Bizapedia, this was the location of Magnolia State Builders, Inc. It should be noted here that the 1959 edition of Polk’s New Orleans city directory lists Marie Newall (Kane’s future wife) as the firm’s Secretary-Treasurer.)
(Marriage certificate and license affidavit for Lawrence Kaye and Marie Brown, dated December 30, 1959. The two men who signed off as witnesses to the marriage – Jerome Van Dilla and Harlan Sanford Perkoff – both occupied high-ranking sales positions with the Housecraft Division of the Southern Siding Co. Given his background in siding and home construction, it’s likely that Kane had some affiliation with this company.)
(Note: Kane’s New Orleans residence (816 St. Philip St.) was a Victorian-era home located in the heart of the French Quarter, a short distance from Bourbon St. His other New Orleans address (Claiborne Towers) was an upscale apartment building located in the downtown district – it was, at that time, one of the largest and most expensive apartment complexes in the Southern United States. // Motel de Ville)
(Marie Newall in the New Orleans city directory, 1959. Credit: Ricardo Gomez)
(Above: Ethel Brown, Santa Barbara (CA) High School yearbook photo.)
(New Orleans city directory, 1960.)
(1961 San Francisco directory listing for Allied Aluminum, an aluminum siding firm co-founded (in partnership with Carl Sapia – see directory listing above) and operated by Lawrence Kane.)
(San Rafael Daily Independent Journal. June 19, 1968.)
(Travel admissions record for Lawrence Kaye. Point of embarkation recorded as Amsterdam, Netherlands. August 29, 1961.)
09-10-1961, Alameda, CA – Kane arrested on charge 647.12 (peeping tom-ism/voyeurism under the California Lewd Vagrancy Act.) -“peeping in windows.” Fined $105.
(Preliminary Report of the Subcommittee on Sex Crimes, California Assembly Interim Committee. 1950.)
(Credit: Harvey Hines Alex Lewis. Source: welshchappie.wordpress.com)
(Source: Rider McDowell, On the Trail of the Zodiac, San Francisco Chronicle, May 08-15, 1994.)
12-05-1962, CA – Lawrence Kane receives traffic citation for speeding.
12-03-1963, Palo Alto, CA – “A security officer of Roos-Atkins department store at Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, observed the subject (Kane) enter the store (…) Since subject was carrying a large overcoat and acting strangely, the security officer followed him. The subject left and re-entered the store approximately three to four times. At no time did he remove anything from Roos-Atkins. He was then followed to a nearby toy store, where he stole a toy model and wood roulette wheel. Subject removed the items from a shelf and while walking toward the door placed the items under his coat. He was apprehended approximately fifty yards from the store and placed under arrest. Subject advised police officers he knew what he had done was wrong and could offer no excuses for it. He stated he had plenty of money to buy the roulette wheel.” Receives $50.00 fine and one year informal probation with Santa Clara County probation office.
December, 1963, San Mateo Co., CA – Kane registers with San Mateo County probation dept. under the name of Lawrence Klein. Charge not specified.
07-20-1964, Oakland, CA – Class D driver’s license issued to ‘Larry Kane.’
09-05-1964, Oak Brook, IL – “Subject (Kane) was arrested for shoplifting at a department store for stealing a clock valued at $50.00. Subject had in his possession a fictitious driver’s license and several traffic tickets from Oakland, California.”
09-05-1964, Wheaton, IL – Arrested on theft charge.
12-05-1964, California – Kane has driver license revoked due to unspecified traffic violations. “Records of the California Department of Motor Vehicles indicate that license driving privileges for Lawrence Klein, also known as Lawrence L(illegible possibly Lane), also known as Larry Kane, also known as Larry Kaye, also known as Lawrence Barton, also known as S.A. Klieman, were revoked pursuant to Section 14.105 (inability to drive safely) of the Vehicle Code, effective December 05, 1964.(…) Order returned unclaimed. Operator’s license was not reinstated. Subject made application for Class D driving license in name of Larry Kane. This license issued in error.”
03-27-1965, Menlo Park, CA – Arrested on shoplifting charge. Pleaded not guilty. Received two years formal probation.
04-26-1965, Belmont, CA – “Police report indicated that the subject (Kane) was observed prowling about the premises and looking into an apartment window in Belmont. Subject was found guilty of the above offense by court verdict on June 3, 1965.” Fined $160.00.
(Credit: Harvey Hines Zodiackiller.com)
“In 1965 the suspect had a seizure and was treated at the San Mateo County General Hospital by a Neurologist.”
(Source: Rider McDowell, On the Trail of the Zodiac, San Francisco Chronicle, May 08-15, 1994. Credit: zodiackiller.com)
07-11-1966, Miami Beach, FL – Arrested for credit card fraud. Fined $50 and costs.
(The New Orleans Times-Picayune. March 29, 1967.)
(The New Orleans Times-Picayune. April 06, 1967.)
(The New Orleans Times-Picayune. April 27, 1967.)
(The New Orleans Times-Picayune. June 16, 1966. See clippings above for relevance.)
04-29-1968, San Mateo, CA – Drivers License # K138675 issued to Larry Kane, showing an address of 1681 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA. (Note: In 1968, a chiropractic proctologist’s office was located at this address. This was not, apparently, Kane’s actual place of residence. See directory listings below.)
(San Mateo County / Redwood City Directory listings for 1681 El Camino Real, Redwood City, CA. 1964/1969.)
08-29-1968, Redwood City, CA – Lawrence Kane arrested on charge 647.12 – peeping tom-ism/prowling.
(Credit: Harvey Hines Zodiackiller.com)
(Above: Kane’s fingerprints, taken from 1968 booking on peeping tom charges. Courtesy of Destry Hines. Click here to access Destry’s website.)
(Source: Rider McDowell, On the Trail of the Zodiac. 1994.)
(Credit: Harvey Hines Zodiackiller.com. John Miles, the car dealer from whom Kane acquired the Ambassador and other vehicles, was based out of Stockton, CA – about a one-hour and thirty minute drive east of Kane’s San Francisco residence. This would tend to suggest that Kane had some (as yet undetermined) connection to the area.)
(Excerpt, the Hines Report. Credit: Alex Lewis)
(Stockton, CA city directory listing for John Miles, 1975.)
Excerpt from Rider McDowell’s On the Trail of the Zodiac, San Francisco Chronicle. May 08, 1994:
“Remembering the two San Francisco policemen who had encountered and spoken to the Zodiac (note: whether Fouke and Zelms stopped and spoke to the Zodiac or merely drove past him remains a matter of debate. – G) after the murder of cab driver Paul Stine, Hines sought out officer Donald Fouke, one of the two officers in question. Fouke, now with the Juvenile Division, lingered over the picture of Kane and remarked, “I’ve seen hundreds of photos since then, and this is the best likeness.” Fouke, however, added that it had been too long to make a positive identification. (Fouke’s partner, Eric Zelms, had since been killed in the line of duty.)”
(Credit: Harvey Hines Zodiackiller.com)
Extract from Rider McDowell’s On the Trail of the Zodiac, San Francisco Chronicle, May 08, 1994:
“Additionally, Hines learned that Kane’s San Francisco address in 1969 through part of , 217 Eddy Street, was located two and a half blocks from where cab driver victim Paul Stine had picked up the Zodiac. The Zodiac revealed himself to be an enthusiast of Gilbert & Sullivan musicals, quoting the “Mikado” in one of his letters. During the time Kane lived on Eddy Street, Hines found that the Mikado was playing at the Lamplighter Theater Group in the theater district three blocks from Kane’s apartment.”
Extract from Rider McDowell’s On the Trail of the Zodiac, San Francisco Chronicle, May 08, 1994:
“In a roundabout way this is the story of Kathleen Johns, a nurse and divorced mother of two who, on March 17, 1970, was kidnapped on a lonely stretch of road near Interstate 5 in Modesto, California. Kathleen, along with her ten month old daughter Jennyfer, had left her mother’s house in San Bernardino earlier that evening for the seven hour trip to her home in Petaluma. Somewhere near the farming community of Patterson she noted she’d picked up a tail, a tan colored sedan, possibly a , following her on the narrow two lane highway. It was nearly 1:00 AM as Kathleen slowed to allow the car to pass. Instead the driver pulled up along side her, began flashing his lights frantically, and shouted that her left rear wheel was loose.
Kathleen, who was seven months pregnant at the time and feared for her safety on the remote road, drove on to the intersection of the more heavily traveled Highway 5. Here she pulled over onto the shoulder. The tan car pulled in behind her and a clean cut man in a windbreaker offered to tighten the lug nuts on the loose tire. Kathleen consented, thinking that her clunker of a 1957 Rambler station wagon probably needed the adjustment. After a minute the man jumped up, waved goodbye to Kathleen, and drove off.
Kathleen started her engine and resumed her journey. Almost immediately her back left tire flew off and her car screeched to a stop on the edge of the highway. Kathleen was shaken but unharmed. Then the stranger was back, having reversed along the road shoulder. He stepped into the glare of Kathleen’s headlights: “a stocky man with an oval face, dark short hair with a high forehead, and glasses like Superman wears.” The man indicated that the problem was worse than he thought and offered to drive Kathleen to the Arco station within sight up the highway. Slightly overwhelmed by the course of events, she accepted. Bundling up baby Jennyfer, she got out of her car and climbed into the sedan beside the stranger. They drove on along the highway. Past the Arco station. Without a word of explanation the stranger then pulled the car off of the highway onto one of the lonely country roads of the region. They drove on in silence and Kathleen gripped baby Jennyfer to her chest and wondered what to do.
After a bit the clean cut man turned to face Kathleen “You know you’re going to die. You know I’m going to kill you,” he said in a halting monotone. And she looked into his eyes, flat featureless ovals, the eyes of a dead thing, and a shiver ran through her as she realized the man had set her up and was now ferrying her to her death.
Then the madman erred. Inadvertently he had driven up a highway on-ramp. He braked solidly and prepared to back up. Kathleen tore open the door and leapt from the car with Jennyfer, hiding in a drainage ditch in a nearby field, her hand smothering the cries of her infant, while the stranger searched for her with a flashlight, scouring the field, calling to her in dulcet tones, reminding her that there was no escape.
Then a semi-truck barreled onto the scene and ground to a halt behind the sedan. The driver surveyed the terrain: the parked car with its doors ajar, the man with the flashlight, what looked to be a woman and her baby rising out of the depths of the adjacent field. “What the hell is going on?” the driver barked, and the man with the flashlight ran to his car and drove away.
In the minutes following her escape, the stranger had shown the true extent of his twisted thinking. Having been denied his victim, due to the appearance of the inquisitive truck driver, the suspect had driven back to Kathleen’s disabled car. In an extraordinary display of arrogance and spite, he had located the jettisoned tire, painstakingly remounted it, driven the car back to where he’d first contacted Kathleen on Highway 132, and set the car afire. The suspect, it can be deduced, then walked back to his vehicle, a distance of over a mile, returned to his car, and driven away.
Confirmation that Kathleen’s abductor was indeed the Zodiac came three months later on June 24th in a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, in which he mentioned,…”I now have a little list, starting with the woeman (sic) + her baby that I gave a rather interesting ride to a couple howers (sic) that ended in my burning her car where I found them.
A nervous Hines had prepared a three row line up, with six pictures in each. Kane’s picture was placed in the 18th position in the third row. He was pictured without glasses, while others in the line-up wore horn-rimmed and other types of glasses. After an introductory cup of coffee, Hines read Kathleen the “line up admonishment” printed on the back of the first row of pictures. Hines presented Kathleen with one row at a time. She regarded the first two rows with interest, and shook her head no. Hines presented the third row of photos. Kathleen studied them for a moment, then placed a long nailed finger on the last photo in the row. She had picked out Larry Kane. She said, “It’s him, but I thought he was younger than this.”
Hines asked if she was sure this was the man who had sabotaged her car and driven her and her baby daughter around for two hours on that fateful night, promising her death at the end of the line. Kathleen replied, “Yes. It’s not just my eyes telling me. I know it in here.” She clenched a hand against the pit of her stomach. “That’s him.” Hines had Kathleen sign and date the back of the picture.”
(Source: Harvey Hines Zodiackiller.com)
(Excerpt, the Hines Report. Credit: Alex Lewis)
(The San Francisco Chronicle. September 26, 1970.)
(The Lead Daily Call. October 06, 1970.)
(Argus-Leader. October 09, 1970. Note the following passage from the article above: “Mrs. Pilker and her husband flew to the Lake Tahoe area on Sept. 19 to investigate the situation which allegedly began with a phone call by an unknown caller who told the couple that there was an emergency in Nevada.“)
(Argus-Leader. October 17, 1970.)
(The Napa Valley Register. March 26, 1971.)
(The Sacramento Bee. March 28, 1971.)
(Above: The ‘Pines’ postcard. March 22, 1971. The postcard was addressed, using pasted newspaper cutouts, to the San Mateo Times (see font comparison), San Francisco Examiner, and San Francisco Chronicle. This was likely done in an attempt to parallel the Zodiac’s ’ correspondence, which was mailed in three parts to the Vallejo Times-Herald, San Francisco Examiner, and San Francisco Chronicle.)
“I again reviewed the two South Lake Tahoe supplemental police reports filed on March 25, 1971. These were filed (…) after the Zodiac mailed the card claiming his 12th victim in the Tahoe area. The complaints in these reports were filed by two Tahoe residents, Mary Ida Hylander (link) and Nancy Kapanos. (…) Subjects came forward after seeing a television news cast stating that the Zodiac killer had sent a card claiming he had sought his 12th victim in the Tahoe area.
Subject Hylander at the time resided at 3337 Bruce Drive, South Lake Tahoe. Her telephone number at the time was 544-6893. She was a Black Jack dealer at Harrahs Club. She said that sometime during the middle of October of 1970, she was having dinner with her two children at the International House of Pancakes on Highway 50 and Sonora Ave. in South Lake Tahoe. She states that a man who had been seated in the booth directly across from her approached her and made conversation (…) This male subject then asked what Zodiac signs her two children were born under and indicated that he was interested in astrology. (…) He indicated astrology was his hobby and continued talking about the Zodiac signs. Hylander agreed to let the man read her Zodiac chart and gave him her telephone number so that he might contact her after he had prepared her Zodiac chart.
The man telephoned Hylander at approximately 1800 hours that evening and stated that he had her chart ready. Hylander wanted the information over the telephone. However, the subject stated he could not do this. He would have to read the chart to her in person. Hylander then gave the subject her residence address and he stated that he was coming over right away. Hylander then became frightened and called her girlfriend, Nancy Kapanos (…) Kapanos was a Roulette Dealer at Harrahs Club.
(…) A short time later, both women heard a car driving up in front of Hylander’s residence. After knocking the man was allowed to enter. He then produced a Zodiac chart. He, however, would not show it to Hylander except at a distance. (…) He began relating astrological information and told Hylander, “Women don’t like you. People who you think are your friends really aren’t.” Then he looked at Kapanos indicating that he wished she would leave (…) Because of his strange actions, Kapanos stayed fearing to leave her friend alone with the subject. The man continued talking about Zodiac signs and stated he had recently read the chart of a murderer and continued talking about this subject, seemingly preoccupied with death. The subject contradicted himself several times. He was very evasive about questions asked of him by both women.
(…) When he left he asked Hylander if she would have dinner and drinks with him at a future date. She told him she already had a boyfriend (…) and declined. He then asked the Zodiac sign of her boyfriend. Upon learning the sign he stated that it was not compatible with Hylander’s. He then left the residence. However, before he left he gave Hylander a philosophical pamphlet to read. This pamphlet, entitled “It Works” (link), was written by R.H.J. The man then wrote his name and address on the inside of the front cover of this pamphlet before giving it to Hylander. He wrote his name as Kent Williams with an address of General Delivery Stateline Post Office, South Lake Tahoe, CA. (note: Kent Williams was the name of the manager of the Tahoe Sierra Club’s Clair Tappaan Lodge in 1970. However, subsequent investigation determined that Williams (who, like Kane, worked in real estate) was not the individual who approached Hylander.)
Both Hylander and Kapanos described the man as being a white male in his late 30’s to 40’s, approximately 5″ tall, 160 pounds, with regular length brown hair (…) They further described him as stocky with a pudgy stomach and wore plastic horn rimmed glasses. (…) [He was well-spoken] and had a business like appearance. He said that he worked out of state selling real estate property. Kapanos said she saw the subject approximately one week later at the Stateline California Post Office.
Another witness told South Lake Tahoe police that sometime between the months of July and September 1970, she was at Shakeys Pizza Parlor and was approached by a male subject approximately 38-40 years of age. She described him as having dark hair parted on the left side and was wearing plastic horn rimmed glasses. The man was carrying a book and kept referring to it. The witness did not recall the name of the book except it had the word “Psycho” and “Cybernetics” (Psycho-Cybernetics?) or words similar to that. (…) This subject engaged in conversation with the reporting party. He asked if they could go some place and talk. The woman refused. He continued in conversation, jumping from one thing to another and kept referring to a woman that he knew but would not say her name. (…) The reporting party asked if he lived in the area and where he worked. He told her he sold land for a real estate company out of state. He did not tell her the name of the company. He said he lived at Stateline in a studio apartment.“
Extract from Rider McDowell’s On the Trail of the Zodiac, San Francisco Chronicle, May 08, 1994:
“Kane was described as 40-ish, with short dark hair (…) He was about 5” tall, 170 pounds, dressed conservatively and wore horn rimmed glasses. He had an office in the lobby of the Sahara, across the hall from the nurse’s station, which he could monitor, had he cared to. He sold [real estate] located in Arizona and lived in a studio apartment with his mother in nearby Stateline, NV.“
(Pictured above: On December 27, 1974, Mary Pilker (the sister of possible Zodiac victim Donna Lass) received an anonymous Christmas card, the interior of which contained an opaque reference to Lass’s disappearance. It was signed “Best Wishes, St. Donna & Guardian of the Pines.” The exterior of the card depicted pine trees covered in snow, an ostensible callback to the Peek Through the Pines correspondence. The card carried a 940 postmark, indicating that it was mailed from either San Mateo County or an adjacent section of Santa Clara County, California. Lawrence Kane had lived in San Mateo County previously and retained connections with the area into the late 1970’s. The Zodiac’s ‘Exorcist’ letter, mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle in January of the same year, also received a 940 postmark. Image attribution: Howard Davis.)
(The Salinas Californian. September 02, 2000.)
(The Sacramento Bee. November 16, 2000.)
The following article, written by Gregory Crofton, is taken from the December 19, 2001 edition (original date of publication September 01, 2000) of the Tahoe Daily Tribune:
“Labor Day, 30 years ago, a young woman disappeared from a casino nursing station and was never found.
Information presented to law enforcement agencies Thursday may link the woman’s disappearance to the Zodiac Killer, a man who many believe killed at least seven people in California and Nevada in the late 1960s and early ’70s.
Law enforcement agents from El Dorado and Douglas County met to discuss reopening the case of Donna Lass. The 25-year-old disappeared while working as a registered nurse at Sahara Tahoe Casino First Aid Station. During the 1970s, the Sahara was a Stateline casino located where the Horizon Casino Resort is today.
Two members of the Lass family and a retired detective from Groveland, Calif., came Thursday to South Lake Tahoe Police station to tell the agents that they believe Donna was abducted and murdered by the Zodiac Killer.
“There are suspicions that Donna Lass was a victim of the Zodiac,” said South Lake Tahoe Sgt. Tom O’ Conner. “But we haven’t actually ever established that she was murdered. We haven’t even found the body. She was a very responsible person, for her to disappear doesn’t add up, doesn’t make sense.”
Harvey Hines, a retired detective, said he has been investigating the Zodiac Killer since 1973. He retired in 1992 from a California police department ending a 30-year-career in law enforcement. He was joined Thursday by Mary and Don Pilker, Donna’s sister and nephew.
“What I’ve wanted to do for a long time is hand my case over to some agency and let them run with it,” Hines said. “I don’t care if I don’t get a dime’s worth of credit as long as someone closes it out.”
Lass, who had moved to South Shore from San Francisco, Calif., three months before she disappeared, was working a 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift at the nurse’s station. The last entry in her log at work was listed as 1:45 a.m. Donna should have been headed home to the apartment she had just rented on the California side, but Hines thinks she was abducted at work.
“There was a lot of evidence inside Sahara Tahoe Casino that she left directly from there,” Hines said. “She was a very personal person and she left a lot of personal items behind an opened letter, a dirty uniform and on her log, a pen was dragged from the last word she wrote to the bottom of the page.”
Donna was never seen or heard from again. Her sister Mary came to South Shore to help search for Donna in 1970. She and several other family members spent about two weeks in the area hoping for a lead. Then they went back home to Sioux Falls, S.D.
“We drove her convertible home, packed all her things,” Mary said. “And we were scared the whole way home.”
Mary said she believes Hines’ report is the key to solving Donna’s case. She’s been in contact with Hines since 1974, but only recently did her family take a serious look at the information he compiled.
“After all these years I met with Harvey Hines about a month ago,” said Don Pilker, Mary’s 35-year-old son. “I went down to the Bay Area. I went through the report with him page by page. My commitment and mother’s commitment to him that day was that it’s now going to happen. We just want some resolve and we finally believe that he has got it right on.”
Law enforcement agencies took a cautious stance to the situation Thursday. Back in the ’70s, during the initial investigations of the Lass case, Douglas County and El Dorado may have been competing to solve the case rather than working together and sharing information.
“The guy has put a tremendous amount of time into it,” O’ Conner said. “When I read our old reports and the ones from Douglas County they didn’t quite make sense. When I heard his reports it helped fill in some of the blanks. I’m very interested in reading his entire report.”
Both the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and South Lake Tahoe Police said they plan to read over all reports including Hines’ and then evaluate the information they have.
“We’re committed to reviewing all aspects of the investigation and will bring forward any new information that’s relevant,” said Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Minister. “We’ve been in contact with the San Francisco Police Department regarding the Zodiac murders. As yet we can’t commit to say this is Zodiac-related. There’s been some investigating done on both sides and we plan to share it with South Lake Tahoe Police Department and they have agreed to do the same.””
From the Tahoe Daily Tribune, October (?), 2000 (this appears to have been a follow-up story to the article above):
“Harvey Hines thought he might be in trouble Oct. 15.
The investigator who has been knee-deep in his Zodiac killer investigation since 1973 got a call – a worrisome call – from a convenience store he frequents.
The employee said that around noon a man who claimed he was a good friend of Hines was in the store asking strange questions.
“He is on videotape because he came into a convenience store here (Groveland, Calif.) where they happen to know me,” Hines said. “He was asking where I lived, if I was still married.”
Concern increased when no one showed up at Hines’ house that day.
“My family was worried because we didn’t know who it was,” Harvey said. “I wasn’t frightened. I was concerned about my family’s safety. I broke out the firearm and had it ready. I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The fact that a person was asking about me and then didn’t come and see me … it’s about a minute’s drive from the convenience store to my house.”
Hines said the videotape is too murky to discern who the man was, but that he’s made arrangements to have the images cleaned up.””
Transcript of interview with Larry Lowe, conducted by Kenneth Mains and Sal LaBarbera –
KM: I’m an investigator looking into the Donna Lass missing persons case. I got your name from some files, and it indicated that you possibly knew Donna or lived with her?
LL: She was a beautiful person. Just a really outgoing personality. Very sweet.
KM: Do you think that she was trusting of people?
LL: Oh, too much, and I told her about that. I said, “You think everybody is your friend, Donna.” I said, “Be careful. You don’t want to be that trusting.”
SB: If somebody tried to steal something, take something, is she the type that would’ve fought back?
LL: Oh, yeah. She was tough. She was in good shape.
SL: We’ve come across a name during all of this. I don’t know if it rings a bell to you at all…Lawrence Kane? I don’t know if that’s a name that you’ve heard before.
SL: You knew a person by that name?
LL: Absolutely. That would have been about . I opened a little tropical fish store, and within a month or so, this individual came in. (…) I’d been to his place several times because he was always having trouble, “Larry, you’ve gotta come look at the fish.” and stuff (…) This guy, he had — he collected everything. He had some swords. I’m pretty sure he had some guns, but I mean, there was all kinds of stuff he collected.
KM: How about astrology stuff?
LL: I think he had a plaque or something of the zodiac, and I think –
KM: Whoa, a what? He had a what?
LL: Like, a plaque, a round plaque of the zodiac on one of the walls.
SL: What do you mean by zodiac, though?
LL: I mean, isn’t there a zodiac calendar?
LL: Yeah, that’s what I mean, astrology calendar.
LL: (…) He was raised by his mother. He didn’t really have a father.
KM: What was his relationship with his mom? Did he talk about his mom a lot?
LL: Yeah, he was obsessed with his mother.
SL: Where did his mom live at the time?
LL: (…) Closer to the [San Francisco] Bay area. He would go down at least once every month or every two months.
According to Harvey Hines’s report, the land development company that Kane worked for during his initial stay in Tahoe was Lake Havasu Estates. See newspaper articles below for more information.
(The Arizona Republic. September 29, 1970.)
(The Arizona Republic. October 31, 1976.)
(The Las Vegas Review-Journal. October 31, 1976.)
Excerpt, Rider McDowell’s On the Trail of the Zodiac, San Francisco Chronicle, May 08, 1994:
“The records also showed that Kane had used several aliases over the years including: Larry Cane, Lawrence Barton, and Larry Kaye. The suspect possessed three different social security numbers under various names, two different driver’s licenses, and claimed two different birth dates. Checking various official documents and work records, Hines learned that throughout the late 60’s and early 70’s Kane had changed the spelling of his name, enigmatically replacing Kane with Cane, and back again.
Hines pressed forward, convinced that Larry Kane was a valid suspect. He continued to investigate Kane, noting that Kane had left Tahoe for a time in 1971-74, shortly after Donna Lass’s disappearance. Checking the Nevada Real Estate Association, Hines found that Kane had then moved south, renting an apartment in Las Vegas (note: more specifically, he lived at the La Fonda Apartments, located at 2439 Spring Mountain Rd.) and selling real estate for developer Allen Dorfman.
In Vegas Hines met with Detective Fred “Andy” Anderson of the Las Vegas Police Department, inquiring whether any unsolved homicides in the Vegas area matched the Zodiac’s M.O. The detective related the circumstances of a lover’s lane kidnapping and murder on April 27, 1974 (two days shy of Kane’s fiftieth birthday and one day after his mother’s sixty-ninth birthday). A 15 year old girl, Dana Lull, had been abducted at gunpoint while sitting in her boyfriend’s car on an abandoned stretch of road at 10:36 P.M. The suspect had approached the boyfriend, Roy Tophigh’s, car wearing black gloves and holding an automatic pistol. Ordering Lull out of the car, the suspect then struggled with her as the boyfriend escaped. Lull and the suspect drove off in the suspect’s sportscar, described by survivor Tophigh as a 1968 sportscar convertible, possibly a Triumph, white with a black cloth roof, and a luggage rack. The car’s front grill was missing. Tophigh described the suspect as 5″, 160-170 lbs, with a round face, short dark hair, and horn rimmed glasses.
Two weeks later, Dana Lull’s body was found in an abandoned cinnabar mine shaft 125 miles away. She had been shot once through the head with a .22 long jacket bullet (similar in make and model to bullets favored by the Zodiac.)
Hines noted that in the police report the case was described as a “possible Zodiac murder.” He studied the case in terms of Larry Kane, a resident of Vegas at the time, and was astounded by his findings. Dana Lull had been kidnapped in suburban Las Vegas and driven 125 miles across the desert at night to an abandoned mine shaft on Mountain Springs Road (Google Maps link) (“Dangerous Roads” link). At the time, Kane lived five miles from the abduction point on Spring Mountain Road. A coincidence, Hines pondered, or a clue, the kind of taunting, in your face clue the Zodiac was renowned for? Why, after all, had the killer driven so far to dispose of the body, when he could have left it anywhere within the vastness of the desert? The burial site was consistent with the Zodiac’s M.O. of leaving his victims by a “body of water.” On the night of the abduction, an anonymous caller had rung up Dana’s parents to tell them, “Your daughter is dead.”
Incredibly, Hines learned, the suspect was stopped by a policeman one hour after the abduction, porting the young woman to her death. A Nye County, Nevada Sheriff’s Deputy, Tom Hannah, had observed the sportscar driving erratically on a lonely stretch of desert road at 11:40 P.M. Hannah had pursued and stopped the vehicle, and was met by the exceedingly courteous suspect, still wearing his black gloves, who proferred a temporary California driver’s license. The suspect explained he had driven down from San Francisco and was very tired. During his exchange with the suspect, Hannah noted the presence of a young sandy haired woman slumped in the front seat of the sportscar, and whom Hannah assumed was asleep. The woman remained motionless during the entire encounter. Hannah observed a small bumper sticker on the back rear fender of the car which said, “Save the Pup Fish.” He let the suspect go with just a warning.
Because Hannah was in the middle of the desert and out of radio range, he did not bother calling in the car’s license plate to his dispatcher. A fatal error. Nor had an APB on the sportscar in connection with Dana’s disappearance been tendered earlier that night, authorities being initially skeptical of Dana’s rather scruffy looking boyfriend, thinking at most they were dealing with a runaway. For a time, Tophigh was also a suspect.
Hines studied the case. Kane’s physical description matched the Dana Lull suspect down to the black driving gloves that, according to Hines’s investigation, the nattily dressed Kane had taken to wearing. More remarkable, a records search by Hines revealed that at the time of the Lull murder, Kane owned a 1968 MGB convertible sportscar, identical to the description of the car driven by the killer: white body, black cloth top, luggage rack. Roy Tophigh, Dana’s boyfriend, noted in his statement to police that the car’s front grill was missing. Checking with DMV records, Hines located the man who had bought the car from Kane in December 1974. The man told him the front grill had been “damaged or missing.” Hines described the bumper sticker, “Save the Pup Fish” on the rear fender. The new purchaser, a car dealer acquaintance of Kane’s, recalled a bumper sticker of some kind, but could not remember what it said. The man, however, related that Kane was a lover of tropical fish and had had a number of aquariums in his apartment.
Hines learned from Allen Dorfman, Kane’s former employer still residing in Las Vegas, that Kane’s favorite watering hole in Las Vegas was the Spring Inn on Spring Mountain Road, a short distance from Kane’s apartment. In a police report filed by Roy Tophigh one month after Dana’s murder, Tophigh describes spotting Dana’s killer at the Spring Inn. Tophigh had attempted to telephone the police from the bar, at which time the subject left the bar.”
Suspect in the Lull abduction was further described as having short, curly dark hair and a round face. He was neatly attired, stood approximately 5 – 5″ in height, and weighed somewhere in the vicinity of 145-170 pounds with a “husky” build. Tophigh also stated that the suspect had a small mustache and wore ‘dark’ horn-rimmed glasses. He described the suspect as being “middle aged”, 30 to 40 years old (later revised to mid-30’s to 40’s.) Additionally, he stated that the suspect wore black leather driving gloves and carried a flashlight. Tom Hannah added that the suspect was ‘heavily’ tanned and very polished and polite in his manner. He was wearing a “sports type” jacket. The weapon used in the Lull killing was later determined to be a .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol type. Cartridges and casings recovered at the scene were .22 caliber long rifle ammunition, consistent with the ammunition used in the Zodiac killings of Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday.
Both Tophigh and Hannah would later identify Dana Lull’s abductor as Lawrence Kane on the basis of photo line-ups provided to them by journalist Rider McDowell, with Hannah (who asserted that he would remember the suspect if he ever saw him again) proclaiming: “I have no doubt this is the man I stopped. It’s his eyes and eyebrows, I could never forget them. I’d stake my life on the fact that he’s the guy.”It’s important to note, however, that Harvey Hines had presented Roy Tophigh with Kane’s picture on a previous occasion and received a somewhat more tepid response. See excerpt below.
“In February 1990, I went to North Lake Tahoe to attend a Background Investigation Seminar. While I was there I met with Roy Tophigh. Tophigh was with Dana Lull at Red Rock Canyon when she was kidnapped (…) I met him and his wife at Truckee at a bar-café. I presented Tophigh with a six picture line-up card. He studied it for several moments. Then he put his finger on Kane located in slot number five. Holding his finger on Kane he said, “No, it’s been too long.” I asked him if any of them were familiar? With his finger on Kane he said, “This guy, but I don’t know where. I can’t say he is the one that night.” I asked, can you say he is not the one? He said no.”
Wikipedia’s page on Allen Dorfman, for whom Kane was employed in the dual capacities of salesman and Public Relations officer – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Dorfman
From Wikipedia: “Allen Dorfman (January 6, 1923 – January 20, 1983) was an insurance agency owner, and a consultant to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Central States Pension Fund. He was a close associate of longtime IBT President Jimmy Hoffa and associated with organized crime via the Chicago Outfit. Dorfman was convicted on several felony counts, and was murdered in 1983.”
(Excerpt from the Harvey Hines report, courtesy of Alex Lewis.)
(The Las Vegas Review-Journal. April 29, 1974.)
(Hayward Daily Review. May 03, 1974.)
(The Las Vegas Sun. May 01, 1974.)
(The Las Vegas Sun. May 03, 1974.)
(The Las Vegas Review-Journal. May 02, 1974.)
(The Las Vegas Sun. May 02, 1974.)
(The Las Vegas Review-Journal. May 07, 1974.)
(The Las Vegas Sun. May 22, 1974.)
(The Needles Desert Star. May 23, 1974.)
Additional information concerning the murder of Dana Lull (Las Vegas, 1974) is available at the following address –
“Dorfman said the only woman he ever saw Kane pay any attention to was Dorfman’s own wife. Kane would send her flowers and candy. Dorfman said it did not bother him because he felt it was Kane’s way of staying “tight with the boss.””
(Excerpt from the Harvey Hines report, courtesy of Alex Lewis.)
In late 1974, Kane returned to the Lake Tahoe area and went into business as a Real Estate broker. He was also involved (albeit without the requisite qualifications) in securities mediation.
08-10-1974, El Dorado Co., CA – Lawrence Cane receives traffic citation for speeding while driving a white MGB convertible, CA plate # TDY274.
(Excerpt, Hines report. Credit: Alex Lewis.)
Excerpt from interview with Rider McDowell conducted by the producers of the ‘Monster: Zodiac Killer’ podcast:
“What’s clear is that Larry Kane really was an odd person. He was up to something. (Narration: One time, Kane asked a female real estate agent to show him a house out in the middle of the desert.) She went out there to show this house, and…there’s nobody there, but she went into the house and started looking around. You know, you’re in the middle of nowhere and really vulnerable (…)While she’s in the house, a hearse pulls up, and it was the guy from the mortuary, and he says, “Well, I had a call here to pick up a body.” And it was just…so creepy, and it so freaked out this woman that she quit her job, and Larry Kane was just a creepy, odd character.”
(Additional details: Kane apparently rewired his telephone to divert charges on long-distance phone calls. Once arrested, he was also found to be in possession of a “black box” telephone device. He later succeeded in having both charges expunged from his record. Neither charge appears on his rap sheet.)
(The Gardnerville Record-Courier. February 08, 1979.)
(The Gardnerville Record-Courier. October 18, 1979.)
Excerpt, Court transcript, 02/1979:
“Q: On that date did you have occasion to serve a warrant on Mr. Cane, the defendant in this case? A: Yes. Q: Where did you go to serve that warrant? A: To his residence on McFaul. (…) Q: What were you directed to look for in that warrant? A: A device known as a black box. (…) Q: What happened when you arrived at the residence? A: Knocked on the door, identified ourselves, identified myself. When Mr. Cane came to the door, identified myself by showing my badge and ID card. (…) Advised him I had a search warrant gave him a copy of the search warrant. He invited us into the house. Q: After Mr. Cane opened the door, what occurred? A: He asked what we were there for. I gave him a copy of the search warrant and told him we were looking for a device known as a black box, and I asked him where his phone was. Q: Did he indicate where it was to you? A: Yes. He pointed out a wall phone in the kitchen. (…)I told him we had reasonable cause to believe there was a black box on a telephone in his apartment, and that we had a search warrant and that we didn’t want to have to go through all his stuff in his apartment. We weren’t interested in that. We were just interested in the black box. He said, “I do have another phone in the bedroom. Maybe that is what you are looking for.” (…) He led us into the bedroom. There was a phone on a desk, a plug in type phone where there is a plug in the wall. On the phone was a switch. The telephone company representative looked at it. He said that was the phone that had the black box on it. (…) Q: Did you ask Mr. Cane to give you a statement with regard to his knowledge, regarding the circumstances of his possession of this particular telephone? A: Yes, but we didn’t obtain one. He would not waive his rights and so we didn’t take any written statement. Q: Did he make any statements or admissions in your presence? A: (…) We kept asking him if he wanted to waive his rights. He kept talking at the same time. We couldn’t get him to be quiet long enough to waive his rights. (…) Q: Was there anyone else in the apartment, besides him? A: No.”
“Q: Do you see anything connected with Plaintiff’s Exhibit A which would indicate to you that a black box is connected thereto? A: Yes, I do. Q: And what, specifically, do you see? A: The wiring has been modified, and what looks like a 5,000 ohm resistor has been placed in series with that line, through a switch, off-on type switch. (…) Q: Have you looked at a lot of telephones? A: Yes, I have. Q: And have you ever seen a resistor attached to a telephone in that manner? A: No, I have not. Q: Have you ever seen a switch attached to the side of the phone in that manner? A: No, I have not. (…) Q: All right. Does it change the voltage or number of amps? A: The position that this resistor is in and the switch, if the switch was on, it would impede the flow of the current in a particular telephone circuit.”
“Q: Have you made an investigation concerning telephone ownership or use by a certain individual, namely, Mr. Lawrence Cane, in this area? A: Yes. (…) Q: And can you tell us what address he gave as the area where this phone service was connected? A: His last service address was 407 McFaul, Casa Del Sol, Apartment 21. (…) Q: Will you tell us the telephone number that was assigned to him? A: The last number that he had assigned was 588-6876. Q: Did he have that number from January – or excuse me – September ’78 to January ’79? A: Sometime he changed his number, let me see. He connected that number on 2-8-77. Prior to that he had a number 588-5376, and then changed it to a non-published number, which was the 6876.”
(Kane’s handwriting. Late 1970’s. Kane provided the sample during an interview with Sgt. Adler and Lt. Forbush of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Lawrence Kane’s address at this time was recorded as 408 McFaul Way, Round Hill Village, Zephyr Cove, NV. Court proceedings from 1979 listed his address as 407 McFaul Way, Apartment # 21, Casa del Sol apartments, Zephyr Cove. Credit: Harvey Hines Zodiackiller.com)
(Excerpt, Hines report. Credit: Alex Lewis.)
(Excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, Rossel Hope Robbins, 1959. Notice parallels between the torture methods detailed in the passage above and concepts utilized by the ‘Zodiac’ in the “Little List” letter. )
10-01-1980, Placerville, CA – Lawrence Kane arrested on charge 484(a) – theft of personal property.
(The Escalon Times. June 01, 1988. From the article: “It was in Lake Tahoe that Hines confronted his suspect. He was doing a week-long documentary with a Portland, Ore., television station and Hines, the news reporter, and the cameraman went to Tahoe looking for Hines’ Zodiac killer suspect (Kane). “We interviewed him, and he went berserk,” Hines said. The Escalon police officer recalled they spotted the suspect driving in downtown South Lake Tahoe and followed him to a roadhouse. The next thing he knew, Hines saw the reporter talking to the suspect on camera. “I heard the reporter say ‘this policeman believes you are responsible for killings in the Bay Area.’” Hines said the suspect pushed the reporter. Undaunted, the reporter continued to ask prepared questions devised by Hines to determine if, indeed, the suspect was the Zodiac killer. The suspect pushed the reporter again, before returning to his car. “When he got to his car, he reached down under the seat,” Hines said. “I figured he was going for a gun and we had had it.” Instead, the suspect came up empty-handed with a funny look on his face, Hines said. The suspect then went inside the roadhouse. Hines and the television crew followed intent on asking more questions. “The last question was, “are you the Zodiac killer?”” That question created a commotion in the roadhouse, and before they could get an answer, Hines said they were hustled outside by bouncers. When they got back outside, Hines said they found the suspect’s companion in the vehicle had reached below the same seat the suspect had looked under and pulled out a zippered pouch. In the pouch was a weapon.”)
(Arrest record. Source: Alex Lewis. While the FBI has Kane’s date of birth listed as April 26, 1924, the reader should bear in mind that this was likely predicated on information taken during his 1980 arrest – an interpretation which is further substantiated by the inclusion of “in 1980” qualifiers next to his occupation and place of residence. Presumably, the arresting police officers obtained this date from Kane’s driver’s license or identification card and it should therefore be regarded as self-reported information. The FBI also lists the incorrect Social Security number for Kane (101-12-2960, rather than 101-12-2950), so I would advise the reader to be leery of treating this document as a reliable source for biographical information. It also warrants mention that April 26 was his mother’s birthday. // 116 Ponderosa, Skyland, Zephyr Cove, NV)
(FBI documents obtained by researcher Alex Lewis. Source: welshchappie.wordpress.com.)
Extract, Rider McDowell’s On the Trail of the Zodiac, 1994:
“(…) Reading the report Hines saw that Kane had lied to investigators, denying that he’d ever used an alias, or lived in San Francisco. He explained that his past police record involved such harmless things as “pissing against a building,” another lie.
According to the police records of the interview, Kane had consented to a polygraph, then advised the investigators that due to his earlier brain injury and medication, a polygraph would be worthless. Concedes Forbush, “If other things now point in Kane’s direction, or if we can prove he lied on material points, absolutely he would have to be reconsidered as a suspect.”
Many hundreds of phone calls were made over the past 18 months, as I worked to strengthen the case against Kane. Over two thousand dollars in phone bills coughed up some seemingly significant additions to the case. Tom Hannah, the retired Nye County Sheriff’s Deputy who stopped the suspect in the Dana Lull killing on the lonely desert road at night, contended that he would remember the suspect if he ever saw him again. A photo line-up of six 3 photos sent to Hannah, yields an exciting development. Hannah selects Kane out of the line-up, proclaiming, “I have no doubt this is the man I stopped. It’s his eyes and eyebrows, I could never forget them. I’d stake my life on the fact that he’s the guy.”
Also precipitated by the seemingly endless stream of phone calls is a “tentative” ID by Roy Tophigh, Dana Lull’s boyfriend who witnessed her abduction. Tophigh, who is sent the same photo line-up as Hannah, misreads the corresponding numbers on the backs of the photos. He selects a number other than Kane, at which point I indicate our actual suspect, and Tophigh cuts in, “That’s the one I meant. I was reading the wrong number.”
I also succeed in locating Bryan Hartnell, survivor of the Lake Berryessa attack, now a prominent California attorney. Hartnell had spoken to a hooded Zodiac for fifteen minutes, and tells me he would remember the voice if he heard it again. In the course of our conversation, I relate Kane’s background, mentioning his brain injury in an auto accident. Here Hartnell stops me, indicating that the speech pattern of the Zodiac, a barely perceptible stutter, would be consistent with a brain injury survivor. “I’ve never mentioned this before, probably because it never occurred to me.”
I locate Kane’s unlisted number and manage to engage him in a phone conversation over some gauzy premise. I record my conversation with the glib, rather agreeable (notably, this wasn’t the first time that Kane had been described as “glib” – see 1952 newspaper clipping) Kane, noting rather remarkably the presence of the subtlest stutter. I play a section of the conversation along with equal sections of two other male voices of the same age, for Hartnell over the phone. He replies: “The third voice (Kane’s), his speech pattern is certainly consistent with the voice I heard, although it’s been too long to be certain.”
As I’m winding up my research on this piece, calls are made to Larry Kane to ask point blank his opinion of Hines’s allegations. The first eight times (note: Reportedly, Kane required incoming callers to use a “code” before he would pick up.) I call, I get a recording on an answering machine, the kind of celebrity voice recording for sale at joke shops. The message is always the same, a second rate impersonation of Alfred Hitchcock, soliciting you to leave a message. The final fifteen seconds of the message is filled with the blood curdling sound of a woman screaming, a terrible, chilling sound, made more terrible given the context of the call.
I make two trips to Kane’s South Lake Tahoe condominium, once with Hines, once alone. There is no answer at his door, nor do his neighbors,who admit to having little to do with the man in the corner condominium, know when he’ll return.
Finally one afternoon I reach Kane by telephone and ask for his side of the story. There is a hesitation, then, “I don’t wish to discuss that. How did you get this number?” Another hesitation, and Kane hangs up, and I listen for a moment to the sound of the empty line. I don’t call back, nor do I leave my number on his machine in a subsequent call, should he have a change of heart.”
Excerpt from an interview with Rider McDowell conducted by the Monster: Zodiac Killer podcast:
“I interviewed Kane one time. He was a very creepy guy, but not so you’d necessarily notice if you were behind him in a store or something. I don’t know what his life was like, but he lived in this condo and would walk around and go into town and have coffee, and his voice was so…it had this Brooklyn accent, this New York accent, and it seemed to me that that would have been noticeable in either the phone calls to the cops or at Lake Berryessa. (Narration: But Rider says one time he played a recording of Kane’s voice to Bryan Hartnell, the survivor of the Lake Berryessa stabbing.) He said there were similarities to it because there was a little bit of a hiccup. Kane, he didn’t stutter, but there was kind of a pause.”
(Interpol State Liaison Office inquiry, dated November 06, 1995. How and why Kane came to the attention of the Nevada Division of Investigation/Interpol is unclear.)
(Lawrence Kane, Naval Reserve Enlistment Mugshot, 1943. Courtesy of The History Channel.)
(Lawrence Kane in Naval uniform, included in June 1943 letter to Eileen Barton. Attribution: Rex Strother. Source: www.findagrave.com/memorial/62207774)
(Lawrence Kane. August 29, 1968)
(Larry Cane, alias Kane. June 28, 1976.)
(Larry Cane, alias Kane. June 28, 1976.)
(Lawrence Kane, date unknown. Courtesy of The History Channel.)
(Source: Rider McDowell, On the Trail of the Zodiac.)
(Above: 1976 CA driver licenses issued under the name of Larry Cane. Note that Kane uses an alternative date of birth and Social Security number. His secondary address is listed as the Lake Tahoe Inn, located at 4110 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, CA. )
(Excerpt, Hines report. Credit: Alex Lewis. It bears mentioning that “Box C, Stateline, NV” was the mailing address of the Sahara Tahoe Hotel-Casino. See below.)
Excerpt, The Hines Report (Credit: Alex Lewis):
“I then ran a driver’s license check of Kane and Allen Dorfman. The suspect, under the alias of Larry Cane, showed a driver’s license number of N3490622, with a P.O. Box 375, Zephyr Cove, Nevada address. The driver’s license also showed an address of Tahoe Inn, South Lake Tahoe, California. The license also indicated “Restricted to Corrective Lenses.” An NCIC check on the suspect came back clear. The above address is no longer current. More recent information indicated he now lives at the Cave Rock Apartments in Zephyr Cove, Nevada. He owns condo number 16.”
(The Gardnerville Record-Courier. May 04, 1989.)
(Social Security Death Index listing for Kane’s father, Morris H. Klein. Attribution: Ancestry.com)
(Credit: Sandy Betts, Zodiackillersite.com)
(The Las Vegas Review-Journal. July 04, 1997.)
(Credit: Seagull, Zodiackillersite.com)
(Tahoe Marketing Inc., Nevada Unclaimed Property Index.)
(Archival Business Directory Listing for South Lake Tahoe, CA. Source: Whitepages.)
(Above: Compilation of public index sources.)
(Above: Employment information for Lawrence Cane. Source: Beenverified.)
(While residing at the address listed above (1302 Cave Rock Dr. A, Zephyr Cove, NV – described in real estate listings as a four-story condominium overlooking Lake Tahoe), Kane is also known to have used the following (fictitious) addresses – 1201 C Ave. 310 Portland C Ave. # 1 8685 C Ave. According to documents filed with the El Dorado County clerk of court, he also maintained a lakefront property in South Lake Tahoe, CA, which he operated as a vacation rental during the summer.)
(Above: 1302 Cave Rock – this was Kane’s primary place of residence from 1989 until his passing in 2010. Image attribution: NNRMLS. Click here to see the front exterior of the Cave Rock property as it appeared during Kane’s residence there.)
The Zodiac Killer: A Timeline - HISTORY
NOTE: I've allowed this issue to be one-sided for far too long. Initially, my approach was to ignore the personal attacks directed at me by Mike Butterfield. However, he has now spent almost a dozen years dishonestly smearing both my name and my website. God knows how many people have been duped by this jealous and spiteful wanna-be author. But now, ironically, one virus (Corona) has given me the necessary time to deal with another virus (Butterfield).
Thanks to David Fincher's film, titled ZODIAC, a new generation of Zodiac buffs was created back in 2007. Many of those individuals found their way to a website called Zodiackillerfacts.com, where they might have eventually noticed a strong, anti-Tom Voigt sentiment: "Voigt's a liar, Voigt's a fraud, Voigt's a hypocrite, Voigt's an opportunist!" At Zodiackillerfacts.com, owned by Mike Butterfield, that sentiment exists to this day. But that website wasn't always that way. At the beginning of 2007, you might be surprised to know that I helped Butterfield get his website online. I already had my own website, Zodiackiller.com, that I had launched in 1998. However, Butterfield and I were on good terms, he thought a website would benefit him, and I was glad to help.
It was late 2006. For almost a dozen years, Mike Butterfield had been preparing a book about the Zodiac killer, and it was finally finished. Butterfield knew that I was formally trained as both a writer and editor. My father, James, was a Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist, and he had taught me well. Butterfield asked if I would edit his book, and I said yes. The book was in the form of a PDF file, and Butterfield put the file on a CD-ROM and mailed it to me. "The PDF file is too big to e-mail," Butterfield said. That was because, as I soon found out, the number of pages in Butterfield's book had to be seen to be believed. Now, I already knew that Butterfield was a very wordy writer -- the equivalent of ask him what time it is, and he'll tell you how to build a watch. It's a good writer who can properly communicate a thought, while using the fewest words possible. Butterfield isn't a good writer. I believe he has since shortened it, but back at that time, even the title of his book was wordy. I said "Mike, if that many words are going to fit on the book cover, the font will have to be so small that nobody will be able to see it." I wasn't entirely kidding. As it turned out, Butterfield didn't really want me to edit anything. Instead, he wanted me to read his book and tell him how perfect it was. I finished chapter one and sent him my edits. That was when Butterfield made it abundantly clear he would not be making even the most simple of corrections.
My relationship with Mike Butterfield began on the Internet back in 1997. I immediately found him to be extremely egotistical, constantly bragging about his own prowess as a writer, while simultaneously criticizing an array of successful, published authors. These days, if you've authored a book, there's an option called self-publishing literally anyone can do it, and it's quite popular. But self-publishing is not ideal, as every writer would prefer their work be published by a traditional publishing house such as Penguin Putnam, or Simon & Schuster. It's the difference between putting some videos on TikTok for your 50 friends to watch, compared to starring in a successful documentary on NetFlix. Joe Blow compared to Joe Exotic. And unlike with self-publishing, having your work published by a publishing house can guarantee regular paydays, a book tour, an interview on Good Morning America, celebrity status, and your own book well-stocked in book stores at the mall. To this day, for the most part, only the best of the best writers earn the great rewards of having a publishing house behind them. It was what Butterfield wanted, and for some reason, what Butterfield thought he deserved. On the Internet, as early as 1997, Butterfield talked as though his massive success was already a done deal. Butterfield imagined himself as Joe Exotic. But as a writer, he Joe Blowed. Not only wasn't his Zodiac book finished yet, Butterfield had never gotten anything published. ever. But he still acted like he somehow had more credibility than others, both as a writer and a person. As I would soon find, the truth told a much different story.
In early 1998, when I worked for CBS Radio, Mike Butterfield and I agreed to exchange Zodiac materials. The mailing address he gave me was for the ZODIAC INFORMATION CENTER, and it included a suite number. "Wow," I thought, "does this guy actually operate a Zodiac killer business of some sort?" Nope. Turned out the "suite" was his basement bedroom in his mother's Phoenix home. The reason I know that is because within 48 hours of our agreement to share materials, I had already packaged and shipped to him everything I had promised. A week later, at the CBS studio where I worked, the materials were returned to me with NO SUCH ADDRESS stamped on the package. I immediately contacted Butterfield and explained what had happened. He responded with "That stupid postman! I told him my bedroom is the suite!" Now, an individual can pretend their basement bedroom is a suite if they wish. but the postal service doesn't play pretend. As a result, Butterfield had to tell me the truth about his living conditions. I remailed everything to the correct address, and he received the shipment within 72 hours. And the items Butterfield had promised to send me in exchange? Butterfield didn't bother to send them to me until six-months later. That's right, he made me wait six freakin' months. I should have dropped him like a bad habit right then and there, but fellow Zodiac buffs were in short supply back then.
As an author, wordiness wasn't the only issue with Mike Butterfield. As I studied his book closely in late 2006, I saw entire chapters devoted to "exposing" individuals such as Howard Davis, whose only crime was to have a theory about the Zodiac's identity. I knew the ridiculing or "exposing" of random people is not what readers want to experience in a Zodiac book. People want to read about the Zodiac case they don't want to read about some guy whom the author has a petty beef with. Around that time, the world had learned that David Fincher's Zodiac movie would be released in theaters on March 3rd, 2007. I naturally assumed Butterfield would quickly send his book to publishers to get the process started. We knew Fincher's Zodiac movie had a huge advertising budget, and we also knew that every penny spent advertising that Zodiac movie, would also indirectly help advertise Zodiac books, Zodiac websites. all things Zodiac. For a publisher, investing in Butterfield's book would have been a no-brainer -- the coincidental timing with the movie's release turned out perfectly. Of course, Butterfield would definitely need to swallow his ego and allow his book to be properly edited. But surely, Michael Butterfield would come to realize that he was not Michael Crichton. Right? Indeed, it seemed the stars had aligned perfectly to allow a bad writer to get a good book deal. Or so I thought.
As we were planning his website, near the end of 2006, Mike Butterfield revealed to me that he hadn't even begun sending his book to publishers. "I want to wait until I see the Fincher movie, so I can put my review of the film in my book," he said. Once I realized Butterfield wasn't kidding, I actually had to struggle to stay composed. "Mike," I said, "what if the movie is a dud at the box office? If that happens, NO PUBLISHER will want anything to do with a book about the Zodiac killer!" Butterfield still wanted to wait. I said "Mike, simply tell readers of your book about your new website, and let the readers know your movie review will be right there, online!" No, he still wanted to wait. I told Butterfield point blank: "As your friend, I am telling you that you are making the mistake of a lifetime. EVEN IF the Fincher movie is a huge success, why would anyone want to buy a book about a movie they had just recently watched in the theaters?" My advice was not taken. Butterfield did it his way. and he blew it.
By late February 2007, Mike Butterfield's website was finally online. I had recently uncovered the never-before-seen Eureka card, thought to be from Zodiac. It was a big deal. However, rather than adding images of the Eureka card to my own website, Zodiackiller.com, I decided to help Butterfield jump-start his new website by e-mailing scans of the Eureka card to Butterfield, for him to share at Zodiackillerfacts.com.
-- TIMELINE OF THE ENSUING MELTDOWN / GET POPCORN READY --
Soon after his website was launched, Butterfield began plugging his "upcoming book":
At some point, Butterfield began using his website to ridicule those who had promoted a popular theory. That theory involved the Zodiac killer intentionally choosing crime scenes in order to form a radian angle:
Butterfield ridiculed them even though Mike Butterfield himself had been a huge proponent of that exact radian theory, to the point of singing its praises in 1999 on a nationally televised documentary called Case Reopened --
"Penn's radian theory became a prominent part of the Zodiac legend and was promoted by many believers, including Zodiac researcher Jake Wark and myself. During my 1999 appearance on the Learning Channel documentary Case Reopened, I explained the radian theory. My endorsement of Penn's radian theory was later cited by Grant and others in support of that theory. However, my presentation of the radian theory was largely influenced by and based on Gareth Penn's previous presentations. As a result, I had no idea that my presentation was actually severely flawed and inaccurate. In later years, my own desire to find the truth about the radian theory compelled me to re-examine the facts and to reassess my own beliefs. I had long-believed that the radian theory was valid, but my renewed research forced me to conclude that I had always been wrong."
Fair enough, right? But no, later in that same entry at Butterfield's website, he concluded by attempting to rewrite history:
"The facts which debunk the radian theory are readily available to anyone who cares to look. Promoters of the radian theory use erroneous maps with the wrong locations and the wrong measurements, an irony which serves as the final proof that the radian theory is invalid - even its promoters failed to do their homework. Gareth Penn, Raymond Grant and Steve Hodel promote the radian theory, but, in order to do so, they must discard the facts in favor of falsehoods. Gareth Penn's radian theory may have been compelling and entertaining, and, many people - including myself - may have been fascinated by its simplicity and its possible implications. At its core, the radian theory is the kind of answer so many people seek from the Zodiac mystery, some sort of explanation which would help us understand why this tragedy occurred. Like most sensational "answers" in the Zodiac case, the radian theory seems initially impressive until one examines the facts."
SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT --
According to Butterfield. Gareth Penn, Raymond Grant and Steve Hodel were wrong for not doing "their homework" before endorsing the radian theory. Yet that is exactly what Butterfield did, until years after he had promoted the theory on national television. However, Butterfield has never taken responsibility for doing exactly what he criticized the others for doing. Instead, he blamed Gareth Penn --
Butterfield: "My presentation of the radian theory was largely influenced by and based on Gareth Penn's previous presentations."
So when others don't do "their homework" before endorsing a theory, it's their own fault. However, when it's Butterfield not doing his homework before endorsing a theory, it's someone else's fault. Gotcha.
WATCH CASE REOPENED BELOW (the relevant portion begins at 38:19):
March 3, 2007 -- I was shocked to learn that Mike Butterfield had illegally filmed David Fincher's ZODIAC at a screening in San Francisco. I might not have believed it, except he sent me a copy of the film on DVD about a month later. In addition, within the previous year, Butterfield had also bragged about intentionally breaking the non-dosclosure agreement he had signed with David Fincher's film company. I had also signed such an agreement, but chose to live up to my word.
At the lower part of the main page, the Eureka card is mentioned. Click the link and it takes you to a page crediting Zodiackiller.com for providing the Eureka content:
March 8, 2008 -- The very first mention of Zodiac suspect Richard Gaikowski at either my website or my discussion forum:
Butterfield would eventually use Gaikowski as his platform to repeatedly attack me at his website, fooling people into believing Butterfield had some kind of a righteous motive behind his actions. "Mike Butterfield: Noble Defender of the Accused!"
History clearly tells a different story as you shall see.
Mid-2008 -- I had driven to the San Francisco Bay Area from my home in Portland, Ore. to film a television show called "Haunting Evidence." (At my suggestion, weeks earlier, Mike Butterfield had been offered a role in the show, but he had turned it down because "it might conflict with my book tour." What book tour?) At my hotel in Vallejo, Cal., I awoke to see two new anti-Howard Davis threads posted by Butterfield at my discussion forum. I had already asked Butterfield to please stop posting such things at my forum, so I immediately deleted both hate threads. That evening, several of my forum moderators, including Angie, Dahlia and Tracers (plus many other users) were in my Zodiac chat room when Butterfield logged-in. Butterfield immediately claimed that I had hacked into his website earlier that day, destroying it. And that the FBI had verified the hacker had used my specific i.p. address in Portland to do the dirty work. The problem with Butterfield's lie, I told the users in chat, was that I was actually in Vallejo filming a TV show. and had been there for a couple days. Butterfield immediately left the chat room and wasn't heard from for months. All because earlier in the day I had deleted two of his anti-Howard Davis discussion threads. I chalked up his bizarre behavior to his many personal problems, including his humiliating public book failure, his wife having left him, his being forced to move back in with his mother, etc. The next time Butterfield was heard from was in late 2008 -- he was still under the delusion that he was getting a book deal. "Once my book tour starts," he asked the chat room, "does anyone have couches I can crash on? I'll be going all around the country."
Butterfield was fading fast, mentally.
March 24, 2009 -- More than a year after Gaikowski's debut as a Zodiac suspect, Butterfield's website remains the same:
Butterfield's hate page/wall of shame (those whom he had petty grudges against) has not yet added me:
Clearly there is no Gaikowski issue for Mike Butterfield. So what happened to set him off?
At some point between snapshots, somewhere between March 24, 2009 and Jan. 26, 2011, I joined Butterfield's Wall Of Shame:
During this time Butterfield also removed me as a source, removed the Eureka card credit, and removed a link to Zodiackiller.com.
"MysteryQuest: San Francisco Slaughter" (which aired on The History Channel, now called simply HISTORY) was filmed in spring 2009, right around the time of the March 24, 2009 snapshot of Butterfield's website -- the snapshot that clearly showed I was still in his good graces more than a year after Gaikowski surfaced as a Zodiac suspect. Both Butterfield and I appeared in the MysteryQuest show. We stayed in the same Benicia (Cal.) hotel, had numerous conversations, and never once did Butterfield mention any issues he had developed with me. I pretended to forget the lies he had told about me in the chat room back in mid-2008. And that was the last time I ever saw Mike Butterfield. He was still listed as a source of mine, I still linked to his website, and he was still a moderator at my discussion forum.
March 26, 2009 -- At the time of the MysteryQuest filming, at Zodiackiller.com, I was still offering a link to Butterfield's website:
Early April, 2009 -- I learned that Butterfield had actually lied to the producers of MysteryQuest by claiming he had secured a book deal and therefore wanted to be billed in the show as an "author." I knew Butterfield had no book deal, but his scheme worked -- if you watch the episode of MysteryQuest, when Butterfield first appears on camera, on the screen it says "AUTHOR."
The MysteryQuest show can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/380168202
-- Scroll to the 3:25 mark to see the result of Butterfield's deception. --
Below: A screenshot of the "AUTHOR" selling his soul.
That show was filmed back in 2009, and almost a dozen years later, Butterfield is STILL not a published book author. But he is still a liar. Butterfield's clear intent was to use the fake "AUTHOR" title on MysteryQuest to boost his own credibility. And it worked, at least on those who didn't know better. By the time the show debuted later that year, the "AUTHOR" was using his fake credibility to lend believability to all of the lies he began directing at me, and at others as well.
April 26, 2009 -- One month after learning of Butterfield's lie to the producers of MysteryQuest, at Zodiackiller.com I had already removed the link to Butterfield's website:
On top of everything else I had done for him, I had actually gotten Butterfield the MysteryQuest gig. I had previously worked with The History Channel several times and now worried Butterfield's lie might actually get me in trouble with the television network. And I wondered what else Butterfield might have lied about during the extensive on-camera interviews we had both separately given in the conference room of our Benicia hotel.
As a result of his lying, Mike Butterfield was no longer welcome at Zodiackiller.com as of April 26, 2009. I removed references/links to both he and his website additionally, he was no longer a moderator at my discussion forum and his forum account was deactivated.
And that was when Butterfield's smear campaign against me began.
By late 2008, Mike Butterfield realized he'd never be a published author, therefore his dozen-year dream of being the number one Zodiac book guy, was over. But could Butterfield possibly become the number one Zodiac website guy? Butterfield did indeed have an established Zodiac website -- ironically, I had personally helped see to that. However, his website was considered vastly inferior to my website, Zodiackiller.com. For one thing, my site had been established nearly a decade earlier than Butterfield's and had a ton more content, much of it exclusive. Also, I had an active discussion forum, which Butterfield's website did not have. So Butterfield knew the only way he could beat me was to cheat. First, Butterfield stole my copyrighted material and added it to his overseas web server, a server he knew didn't follow our copyright laws here in the United States. Butterfield followed up by targeting my then-friend and main forum moderator, Ed Neil. Butterfield spent months getting into Ed Neil's ear, telling lies about me and making it appear as if I was somehow bad for Ed Neil. The tactic eventually worked, and Ed Neil left Zodiackiller.com and became a moderator at the new version of Butterfield's website, which was all of a sudden more focused on spreading hate than spreading facts. Butterfield's forum did become successful, but it was short-lived. Ed Neil finally wised up, realized he'd been conned by Butterfield, and left the online Zodiac community in embarrassment.
Facing yet another Zodiac failure, this time his discussion forum, Butterfield intentionally broke his forum while blaming me for it just as he had a few years earlier in the chat room. Since then, Butterfield has rarely updated his website. Instead, he finally resurfaced in an attempt to cash in on the podcast fad. But that has failed, too -- Butterfield's first podcast did well, approaching 60,000 downloads. However, listeners apparently didn't like what they heard, as the subsequent 35 or so episodes have tanked. And now, on average, a typical Butterfield podcast gets barely 900 listeners.
I'd feel sorry for him, but he doesn't deserve it.
"Voigt's a liar, Voigt's a fraud, Voigt's a hypocrite, Voigt's an opportunist!"
Although the Zodiac claimed 37 murders in letters to the newspapers, investigators agree on only seven confirmed victims, two of whom survived. They are:
David Arthur Faraday, 17, and Betty Lou Jensen, 16: shot and killed on December 20, 1968, on Lake Herman Road, within the city limits of Benicia.
Michael Renault Mageau, 19, and Darlene Elizabeth Ferrin, 22: shot on July 4, 1969, in the parking lot of Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo. While Mageau survived the attack, Ferrin was pronounced dead on arrival at Kaiser Foundation Hospital.
Bryan Calvin Hartnell, 20, and Cecelia Ann Shepard, 22: stabbed on September 27, 1969, at Lake Berryessa in Napa County. Hartnell survived eight stab wounds to the back, but Shepard died as a result of her injuries on September 29, 1969.
Paul Lee Stine, 29: shot and killed on October 11, 1969, in the Presidio Heights neighborhood in San Francisco.
There was never an arrest, though law enforcement officials followed dozens of clues that all went cold.
The killer would routinely send newspapers letters that taunted police and cryptograms that were so complicated that some have still not been solved to this day.
Victims: Paul Stine, Cecilia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell were three of those killed or injured by the killer
In the letters, he claimed that he killed 37 people.
'The police shall never catch me, because I have been too clever for them,' the Zodiac wrote in a letter sent to the San Francisco Chronicle.
His young victims were either stabbed or shot to death in Northern California and were between the ages of 16 and 29.
The San Francisco Police Department closed the case in 2004, but reopened it in 2007.
Numerous people have claimed they have identified the killer, but none have ever been confirmed by the police department.
The main suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen, was cleared after DNA evidence taken from the saliva of the Zodiac's sealed letters exonerated him.
The Hunt: Lyndon Lafferty penned a book on his decades long hunt for the Zodiac called 'The Zodiac Killer Cover-Up' in which he adds an intriguing new theory as to who the killer was and why he was never caught
Adaptation: Robert Downey Jr and Jake Gyllenhaal starred in Zodiac, a 2007 film about the famous case
Mr Lafferty, who went to High School with Mr Allen, claims that the identity of the Zodiac killer has been known since March 15, 1971.
The 'Mandamus Seven,' a group of retired law enforcement officers, federal agents, a minister and a District Attorney banded together to prove, once and for all, who the Zodiac really is.
The motive for the killings, Mr Lafferty says, was adultery.
'Mind and body ravaged by years of severe alcoholism, his blood-lusting revenge turned him into the most shocking and vicious killer in our 20th century,' Mr Lafferty writes.
'Through his tauntings of the police, his codes, ciphers, and letters, he was on a mission to redeem his shattered ego, to prove that he is better, smarter, and more clever than all the judges and police put together.'
Mr Lafferty says that the Zodiac started his killing spree after his wife had an affair with a Solano County Superior Court Judge, according to the Daily Republic.
Suspect: After an artist's impression of the killer (left) was released, Arthur Leigh Allen (right) was arrested and question but later released without charge
Mr Lafferty locked onto the Zodiac case in 1970 when he became suspicious of a man he saw parking at Vallejo highway rest stops, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
He tracked the man, who drove a white Chevrolet sedan and looked just like the wanted posters, and decided he had to be the one.
One time, Mr Lafferty said, he even confronted the killer.
'I looked into a quivering, snarling face like I was looking to the face of death,' Mr Lafferty said to the Daily Republic. 'It scared the hell out of me.'
Mr Lafferty, who said he worked as a code breaker during the Korean War, even claims that the name of his suspect appears in the Zodiac's codes.
Chase: Law enforcement officers meeting in 1969 in an attempt to hunt down the Zodiac Killer
Single-minded: San Francisco detective Dave Toschi spent years hunting the murderer
Some have questioned Mr Lafferty's zest for the Zodiac, as so many before him have claimed to have solved the case.
Reviews of his book on Amazon.com complain of numerous research inaccuracies and question Mr Lafferty's use of an alias to hide the name of his person of interest.
But Mr Lafferty is so convinced that he knows who the killer is that he thinks the killer has his eye on him.
Mr Lafferty says he may have been threatened by the Zodiac himself in his own cryptic letter, out of retaliation for publishing his book.
'Many innocent people could spend the rest of their lives in prison if the truth were told,' a letter addressed to Mr Lafferty reportedly said.
'I had to wait until some people, including the suspect's wife, finally died. But that has finally happened recently, and now it's time to tell the story.'
The letter contained 'evidence' that it was indeed from the Zodiac and was signed 'A Concerned Citizen.'
Undaunted, he decided that it was time to blow the whistle.
'I had to wait until some people, including the suspect's wife, finally died,' Mr Lafferty said to the San Francisco Chronicle. 'But that has finally happened recently, and now it's time to tell the story.'
Mr Lafferty does have one prominent believer of his theories: Pam Huckaby, the sister of the Zodiac's third victim.
'I am sure Lyndon has the right guy,' Mrs Huckaby said to the San Francisco Chronicle.
She claimed that her sister, Darlene Ferrin, was being stalked by a man that resembled the sketches of the Zodiac killer for months before her death.
When Mr Lafferty showed her a photo of his suspect, she recognized him instantly. 'It's him,' she said.