Absent credible evidence to support the hoax “theory,” Horan resorts to asserting his opinion as fact rather than providing a consistent, coherent and fact-based case. Horan relies on his assumption that Hal Snook wrote the Zodiac letters. Snook’s handwriting may appear similar to the Zodiac writing but that similarity does not constitute evidence that Snook wrote the Zodiac letters. Many other samples of handwriting are also similar to the Zodiac writing, including the writing of the infamous “Unabomber” Ted Kaczysnski. Some handwriting experts disagree on various issues, demonstrating that the conclusions of the experts can be wrong, and Horan can be wrong as well.
Horan has theorized that the person who left the message on the car door at Lake Berryessa may not be the same person who wrote the Zodiac letters, despite the fact that the writing on the car door is remarkably similar and at least one documents examiner concluded that the door writing matched the writing in the Zodiac letters. Dismissing the car door message effectively dismantles the hoax “theory” by conceding several key points. If the person who wrote the message on the car door was not the same person who wrote the Zodiac letters, the most logical suspect is the person who attacked Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard at Lake Berryessa. Since that person was wearing a crossed circle costume and he wrote the message on the door featuring the crossed circle, the most logical conclusion is that this was the same person who wrote the Zodiac letters.
If the person who wrote the message on the door was not the same person who committed the Berryessa crime and he was also not the same person who wrote the Zodiac letters, then at least three different individuals had to be involved: the author of the letters, the person who wrote the message on the car door, and the person who committed the crime. This scenario includes at least three different individuals who were either engaged in the same conspiracy or were acting independently of each other. If these three individuals were acting together, then all three are guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and many other crimes. By definition, that scenario proves that the Zodiac killer did exist because the person who committed the murder was working with the individuals who were writing the Zodiac messages. This scenario indicates a crime and not a hoax.
If the person who wrote the letters was not acting with the person who committed the murder, then this scenario requires two hoaxers working independently and without knowledge of each other. If the person who wrote the Zodiac letters was not involved in the crime and did not write the door message, then the fact remains that someone committed the murder wearing a crossed circle costume and that person remains the most logical suspect as the author of the door message.
All of the hoax scenarios require a conspiracy implicating members of law enforcement and/or others. The hoax theory requires the following cast of characters:
- the person(s) who committed the murders on Lake Herman Road
- the person(s) who committed the murder at Blue Rock Springs Park
- the person(s) who placed the phone call to the Vallejo police department
- the person(s) who wrote the Zodiac letters
- the person(s) who committed the murder at Lake Berryessa
- the person(s) who placed the phone call to the Napa police department
- the person(s) who wrote the message on the car door at Lake Berryessa
- the person(s) who committed the murder in San Francisco
- the person(s) who stole the piece of the victim’s blood stained shirt
- the person(s) who wrote the Zodiac letter sent with a piece of that shirt
A few of these roles could be played by one individual, but the hoax theory requires many players to function. The theory that the Zodiac killer actually existed requires only one person and is in keeping with the known facts and reality. The most logical, plausible and likely explanation for the Zodiac events is that one person committed the crimes, placed the phone calls, wrote the letters, and then disappeared for reasons unknown.
In 1990, a Zodiac copycat appeared in New York. After a brief reign of terror, “Zodiac II” disappeared and then later resurfaced. Some speculated that the resurfacing “Zodiac II” was just another copycat, or “Zodiac III.” Police later captured the copycat and the facts proved that “Zodiac III” was really just “Zodiac II.” During one late night comedy appearance, legendary comedian George Carlin remarked on the confusion and asked, “How many Zodiac killers do you need?” The hoax theory requires implausible scenarios, random killers, and a cast of hoaxers, but the most logical explanation requires only one Zodiac killer.