Oh, I see. Here’s one: According the first letter, “The girl [Darlene Ferrin] was wearing patterned slacks.” No, according to all the police files, she was wearing a dress. The author of the letter got the idea of “patterned slacks” from one garbled carbon copy of one specific evidence inventory sheet that read, “blood stained and spattered slack dress.” On the copy, it looks like “XXXXXXXXered slack dress” But no slacks are mentioned; only the dress. Yes, a “slack dress” can be worn with slacks or jeans or shorts, but no report mentions any. The hoaxer only ever had a quick, probably one-shot glance at a very small handful of files that were located in one specific place. The rest of their info came from newspaper accounts. For example, “10 shots were fired” was mentioned in newspaper stories the first week after the Lake Herman Road shooting.
By tracing the all the errors in the letters and phone calls, I was able to identify not only the source of the wrong info, but also the person who at least did the hand printing on the letters. Ditto for the phone calls, but I don’t even see a connection between the phone calls and the letters, except that the first prank call may have inspired the letters to some extent.
At one time, I thought maybe I had been hoaxed, or at least that someone was trying to frame Suspect N by some byzantine route. But I have confirmation that the exemplars of Suspect N’s handprinting I analyzed are undoubtedly theirs.
LE at this time still consider Suspect N a viable murder suspect, so I’m wrangling with various attorneys over what I can and cannot publish at this time related to N’s identity. But with or without a hoax suspect, the letters themselves are clearly a hoax. And yes, that includes that specific swatch of Paul Stine’s shirt that was mailed in two “Zodiac” letters.
Here’s the catch for LE: if the letters were a hoax, then any charges, such as evidence tampering, obstruction of justice, and extortion, have long since expired. If N is not a murder suspect, then they can’t even question them, let alone arrest them.
In the fall of 1969, two fingers did point in the direction of N as a suspect in Cecelia Shepard’s murder, but since N apparently has a solid alibi, no handprinting examples were sent for examination at that time.
The SF Chronicle, and to a much greater extent, Robert Graysmith, blew the letters way, way out of proportion. I’m not accusing Graysmith of fooling anybody. I’m only accusing him and a lot of other people of being fooled—to the extent that he was able to effectively frame a creep name Arthrur Leigh Allen for being a “Zodiac Killer” who never even existed. Actual LE files clearly show zero link of any kind between any two “Zodiac” murders, although the MO of a thug named David Wally Ott does match the MO of the Lake Herman Road shooting. Two of Ott’s gang members confessed, fingering Ott (naturally) as the shooter. But since no corroborating evidence existed (according to the ballistics analysis, the murder weapon was so old and worn that no match could be made to the bullets or shell casings, and there was no other evidence of any kind found at the scene,) and since prosecutors were able to convict Ott of a previous, similar murder, he wasn’t charged.
How’s that? If you want more examples, buy (or borrow for free through the Kindle lending library) the book.