New Discoveries on the Case of the Zodiac Killer

Samantha Ramirez, Writer

Recently, a team of investigators known as the “Case Breakers”, a team of over 40 former law enforcement investigators, journalists, and military intelligence officers, has claimed to uncover the true identity of the enigmatic Zodiac Killer. They have identified the killer to be a man by the name of Gary Francis Poste. The self proclaimed Zodiac terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area throughout the 60s and 70s. The tale of the Zodiac begins with the murder of the teenaged couple David Farraday and Betty Lou Jensen in December of 1968, the night of Betty Lou’s first ever date. Following through with his rampage, the Zodiac was responsible for the murder of Darlene Ferrin and wounding of Mike Mageau. Mageau survived and was able to provide authorities with a description of the Zodiac, a white man in his late 20s to early 30s with a stocky build and brown hair. However, investigators were unable to get a lead on the case following the identification of the weapon and suspect. Then, on July 31 of 1969, the Zodiac’s taunting began as he mailed letters containing details of the murders that would have been exclusively known by the killer to major papers in the area such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, the San Francisco Examiner, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Two months later, on September 27th of 1969 while on a relaxing date by Lake Berryessa the Zodiac murdered Cecilia Shepard and wounded Bryan Hartnell after tying them up with a plastic clothesline. Hartnell claimed the man was wearing an unusual costume featuring a black hood and the Zodiac’s symbol on his chest, which was essentially a circle with a cross in it. The final definite victim of the Zodiac killer would be 28 year old cab driver and student Paul Stine. The San Francisco Police Department believed this to be a routine robbery gone wrong, until they received a letter addressed from the Zodiac containing a portion of what was Stine’s bloody shirt. Throughout his years of activity, the Zodiac penned over 20 chilling letters to police that included some ciphers that still have yet to be solved. 


Though the “Case Breakers” have claimed to uncover the identity of the Zodiac to be the late Gary Francis Poste through connecting him to one of the Zodiac’s alleged previous murders, the FBI has confirmed that the case is in fact still open. The Case Breakers have linked Poste to the murder of Cheri Jo Bates, a young woman killed in Riverside in 1966; a letter previously sent by the zodiac entailed him confessing and taking responsibility for Bates’ murder. Poste bears a striking similarity to the famous police sketches of the Zodiac, the scars on his forehead. The only suspect to be mainly pursued was Arthur Leigh Allen, whowhom was served a search warrant by the lead detectives on the Zodiac case. The confession letter for the murder of Bates in Riverside 1966 was typed on a Royal typewriter either of the Elite or Pica model, the same model that would later be found in a search of Allen’s home. Acquaintance of Allen, a man by the name of Don Cheney claimed that Allen confided in him various remarks about a murder fantasy where he’d kill couples at random, taunt policie officials using letters, sign them using the cross circle symbol from his watch, dub himself the “Zodiac”, wear makeup to change his appearance, etc.These details prove to be similar if not exact to the various murder committed by the Zodiac. And perhaps one of the most damning pieces of evidence, Allen was chosen in a lineup by surviving victim Mike Mageau. Allen was never arrested and following his death in August of 1992, a search of his home was done and a video tape entitled simply “Z” along with recipes for bombs (the Zodiac had previously threatened to make bombs and attach them onto school buses) was found.


Our resident true crime enthusiasts, the Third Eye Club had much to say on this subject. When asked their opinion on the uncovering of the Zodiac’s identity, Club President Jimmey  Loya, 12, said, “It’s cool to know that there are people that care enough to try to solve the Zodiac Killer case. It really shows how close the true crime community is.” Vice President Kailani Fletcher, 12, had this to add, “I think it’s interesting to see that the Zodiac Killer has been “identified’ after all of this time. Although it’s good news, the facts of the case are still not one hundred percent clear, so who knows if they actually found him”. After being asked what piqued his interest in true crime, Jimmey Loya, 12, shared, “My interest in true crime began back when I was younger. I was a huge fan of Shane Dawson’s older videos about conspiracies and other spooky stories. He was a huge influence on me getting involved in all of this.” The Third Eye Club partakes in “open discussions, visiting haunted and spooky locations, researching topics, and overall just having fun as a group.” Jimmey Loya,12, said. When asked about the objective of the Third Eye Club, Kailani Fletcher, 12, stated,”The objective of the Third Eye Club is to bring people together to talk about interesting and evocative topics”,“We want to build a sense of community and skepticism, as well compassion, in discussing true crime, folklore, and conspiracy theories.”