Month: May 2012

The Zodiac Killer Cover-Up: A Bad Case of Deja Vu

The news media is running through yet another Zodiac cycle after the publication of the book The Zodiac Killer Cover-Up: The Silenced Badge by long-time Zodiac theorist Lyndon Lafferty. Many observers may believe that Lafferty’s suspect is “new,” but the man was featured in the 1986 best-selling book ZODIAC, under the pseudonym “Andrew Todd Walker.” Lafferty and his associates have been accusing and investigating the suspect since 1970, and, according to his book, his investigation was thwarted by a judge and various others. Lafferty has consistently failed to present any credible evidence to link his suspect to the Zodiac crimes and law enforcement has exhibited no interest in pursuing his theory, claims or suspect. On February 2, 2012, the suspect died, and Lafferty’s book subsequently became available for sale online.

News of the book release and the death of the suspect generated many news stories, including a new article at the News10.com website titled “Sister of Zodiac victim disappointed by death of ‘suspect’.” Pam Huckaby, the sister of Zodiac victim Darlene Ferrin, was interviewed by phone for the story, which also includes video with audio excerpts from the interview. According to the story, Pam is now “absolutely certain” that Lyndon Lafferty’s suspect was the man who had “stalked” Darlene during the months before she was murdered in July 1969. Pam said, “We’ve got him. That’s the man.”

Highlights of the story include:

* Huckaby said Lafferty showed her a picture of the man in 1987 and she immediately recognized him as the man who had been stalking her sister when she worked as a waitress in a Vallejo restaurant. “She was afraid of him. She told me he was bad,” Huckaby said.

* According to the article, Pam also “posed as a salesperson” and went to the home of Lafferty’s suspect.

* The reporter tells his colleagues that law enforcement has been “somewhat dismissive” of Lafferty and his claims.

Some observers may have been skeptical of Pam’s claims, as she had a long history of telling stories about her sister and the so-called “stalker.” Many of these stories had been featured in the book ZODIAC and other accounts which claimed that Darlene had known the Zodiac killer. The theory persisted, yet most investigators and researchers noted that the stalker stories had no basis in fact.

Tom Voigt, the webmaster of the website Zodiackiller.com, had many encounters with Pam and he repeatedly described her as an unreliable source of information. On Friday, January 26, 2007, at 8:26 pm, Voigt wrote, “the people primarily responsible for the ‘Darlene had a stalker’ stuff were her sisters, Pam and Linda. The fact is, Pam and Linda have identified numerous men over the years as being the stalker; Kane is just one of them. [Andrew Todd Walker] is another, and not long before Linda died she e-mailed me claiming Allen was that man. Give me time and I can probably add more names to the ‘Darlene’s stalker’ list as well.” On Friday, January 26, 2007, at 5:36 pm, Voigt responded to a question about the alleged “stalker” who had bothered Darlene: “The only person I recall being named in the police reports who apparently made Darlene uncomfortable was a guy named George… However, he didn’t fit the description of the stalker referred to in the yellow book [Robert Graysmith’s book ZODIAC]. If I recall correctly all of this ‘Darlene had a stalker’ nonsense came about in the 1980s and can be traced back to some extremely unreliable sources.” On August 1, 2007, Voigt wrote of stories about Larry Kane and Darlene Ferrin: “This reminds me of the nonsense that has surrounded the Darlene Ferrin murder for decades. You know, the stuff about how all of these people close to Darlene knew she was in danger, being followed, saw a murder, etc. Yet NONE OF THEM TOLD THE POLICE. Bull.”

On November 7, 2010, Voigt reported to the public: “Just got off the phone with Darlene’s sister. She recognized the man in the photo to be [Voigt’s suspect] Richard Gaikowski.” The sister in question was Pam Huckaby. According to Voigt, Pam had identified Richard Gaikowski as the man posed in a photograph with Darlene. The man in the photograph was not Richard Gaikowski. [Note: According to Voigt’s associates, several people who had known Darlene had stated that the man in the photograph was Darlene’s ex-husband, although he allegedly denied this when asked.] In 2000, a member of Voigt’s message board referred to some of the claims made by Pam, and Voigt responded, “The stories you mentioned came from Dee’s sister, Pam, who has severe credibility issues.” Voigt made other statements which cast doubt on Pam’s credibility. Many others shared similar opinions regarding Pam and her history over the years, including Voigt’s associate Howard Davis, author of the book The ZODIAC/MANSON CONNECTION. On Monday, January 01, 2001, at 3:28 AM, Davis posted the following at Voigt’s message board: “Of course, I am fully aware that Pam has a credibility problem.”

In his book, Lyndon Lafferty wrote, “Our sensitive information was betrayed and Pamela Huckaby betrayed my confidence as well.” According to Lafferty, Pam’s “poor lack of judgment resulted in tragic consequences,” including the destruction of “32 years of covert investigations, possible grand jury indictments pending on the horizon, and a successful prosecution by the DOJ [Department of Justice].” Lafferty also blamed a judge for somehow protecting the Zodiac suspect in a “cover-up,” hence the title of Lafferty’s book. Dennis Kaufman, Howard Davis, Steve Hodel, Blaine Blaine, and many others have claimed that their suspects have escaped justice thanks to sinister, often elaborate conspiracies involving members of law enforcement and various authority figures. Like most Zodiac theorists, Lafferty was eager to blame others for his own failure to present credible and compelling evidence to implicate his suspect.

Lyndon Lafferty may be selling books, but I’m not buying his solution to the Zodiac case. As the saying goes, everything old is new again, and the latest media frenzy is just another bad rerun.

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