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Zodiac Killer Essay

2297 words - 10 pages

The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who committed numerous homicides in Northern California in the late 1960’s. The identity of the Zodiac Killer was never discovered, and though there was a compiled list of possible suspects, the real Zodiac Killer is still a mystery today. It is confirmed that he killed at least five people, yet he claims to have killed much more than that according to letters he sent in. During his reign of terror, he would send cryptic letters to the local newspapers.
These letters included four cryptograms, which are messages in which the writer replaces letters with symbols. These puzzles were nearly impossible to decode, and they made it that much more difficult ...view middle of the document...

Darlene Ferrin was shot five times, and she died on the way to the hospital, like David Faraday. Michael Mageau was shot four times, but fortunately, he survives the attempted murder (Zodiac Revisited, 2012).
A couple of weeks later, after both of these attacks, the Zodiac Killer sends the cryptogram letters to three different newspaper companies and takes responsibility for the murders. Each of the letters included one-third of a 408-character cipher. In one of these letters, the Zodiac Killer actually identifies himself as “The Zodiac.” He demands each newspaper company to put these letters on the front pages of the next day’s newspapers. If this demand was not met, he threatened he would go out and kill more people.
On September 27, 1969, a little over two months since his last murders, the Zodiac Killer attacked again. His previous two killing sprees took place at night, but this time, he murdered at Lake Berryessa, near Napa, California, in the middle of the day. The victims were Cecilia Shepard, a twenty-two-old female, and Brian Hartnell, a twenty-year-old male. Again, it was another couple he attacked. The victims were in the middle of a picnic when the Zodiac approached them (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). He tied them both up and then stabbed both of them repeatedly. This was the first time he had used anything other than a gun. Brian Hartnell was stabbed six times but managed to survive while Cecilia Shepard was stabbed many more times. Shepard later died due to her injuries. On October 11, 1969, the Zodiac made his last confirmed murder in San Francisco while riding in a taxi. He killed the taxi cab driver, Paul Stine, a twenty-nine-year-old male, by shooting him in the head and killing him instantly (Zodiac Revisited, 2012).
A couple of days after this October incident, the Zodiac Killer takes responsibility for the recent homicides by sending another letter to a local newspaper. He also sends a piece of Paul Stine’s shirt that he ripped off the night he committed the murder as proof. In this letter, he also includes a threat to kill school children as they come off the bus, in addition to threatening to blow up a school bus (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). As the weeks go by, he sends more and more letters that include more cryptic messages and threats.
On March 22, 1970, Kathleen Johns, who was 23 at the time, is driving with her very young daughter when she is suddenly stopped by another driver to inform her that one of her back wheels seems to be loose. The driver of that car actually turned out to be the Zodiac, which he confirmed later after sending a letter to the local newspaper. He states how he offers to help her out by “fixing” the wheel, but in reality, he actually loosens it. Moments later, while Kathleen Johns is driving, the wheel comes flying off, and she is offered a ride by the Zodiac to a nearby gas station for help. She agrees to this ride. After driving for a couple of hours on the back roads and realizing that they...

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