Twenty-nine year old Paul Stine was a husband, student and cabdriver until he picked up the Zodiac on the night of October 11, 1969. Stine drove his passenger to a destination in the wealthy San Francisco neighborhood of Presidio Heights, named for the large military base located two blocks north of its border. For his trouble, Stine received a bullet to his skull. Three young witnesses watched the crime in progress from a house directly across the street and contacted police. Due to confusion during the call, the resulting broadcast to responding police units mistakenly described the suspect as a black male. A patrol car reportedly passed by a man who matched the correction description but did not stop to question him because he was a white male.
Police believed the cabdriver had been the victim of a routine robbery until the offices of The San Francisco Chronicle received a letter that began with a familiar introduction. “This is the Zodiac speaking. I am the murderer of the taxi driver over by Washington & Maple St. last night. To prove this here is a blood stained piece of his shirt.” The letter went on to chastise police for failing to capture him near the scene and ended with a threat that created shock, fear and nightmares for police and parents throughout the Bay Area. “School children make nice targets I think I shall wipe out a school bus some morning just shoot out the frunt tire + pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out.” Patrol cars and aircraft followed buses to and from schools and armed officers rode onboard for added protection. The Zodiac then sent another letter along with diagrams of a bomb he intended to plant along bus routes. The killer called his device “the death machine.” Using the descriptions provided by the three young witness, police produced a composite sketch of the man seen exiting Stine’s cab. Police also announced that “bloody” fingerprints believed to belong to the Zodiac were discovered at the crime scene. The Zodiac responded with a letter in which he dismissed the sketch and claimed to have coated his fingertips with glue in order to avoid leaving fingerprints.
SAN FRANCISCO: Photographs, Videos, Newspaper Articles, and Official Documents
THE SCENE OF THE CRIME
THE CRIME SCENE
THE INVESTIGATORS and OTHERS
THE SUSPECT SKETCHES
THE ZODIAC’S LETTERS
THE JOE STINE FILES