In order to create his hoax narrative, Horan needed a hoaxer and others to carry out the hoax, commit the actual crimes, and resolve many other problems with the hoax theory. Horan accuses former Napa police officer Hal Snook, who participated in the investigation of the Zodiac stabbing at Lake Berryessa. According to Horan, Snook’s handwriting matches the writing in the Zodiac letters, thereby proving that Snook was the author and the perpetrator of the hoax. Horan does not provide any credible evidence that Hal Snook wrote the Zodiac letters or that Snook was involved in any aspect of the alleged hoax.
Horan claims that Snook wrote the first two Zodiac letters in July and August 1969. The Napa Police Department was not directly involved in the investigation of the Zodiac crimes until the third Zodiac attack at Lake Berryessa in September 1969. In his position with the NPD, Hal Snook had no reason to perpetrate any hoax and doing so would create no benefit for himself or his department. In fact, a hoax would derail the investigation and waste man-hours and money on a fruitless search for a killer who never existed. Also, the failure to capture the killer would reflect poorly on the department and its reputation.
Snook worked for the Napa Police Department while the Zodiac murder of a cabdriver occurred in the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Police Department. This fact created an obstacle for the hoaxer to obtain a piece of that victim’s shirt to include with subsequent Zodiac letters. Snook did not have direct access to that shirt and he had no justifiable reason to request access to such evidence. Horan suggests that someone working inside the SFPD or the coroner’s office took the portion of the shirt and gave it to the hoaxer, but Horan does not provide any credible evidence to substantiate this claim other than a guilty-by-association assumption. Horan’s assumptions and speculation are not based on credible evidence, and his conclusions are not the most logical, plausible or likely explanations for these events.
Horan’s theories depend on the unsubstantiated claims that Hal Snook wrote the Zodiac message on the car door and the Zodiac letters, but Horan offers no logical or plausible motive for Snook or anyone else to engage in such a hoax. No one would benefit from such a hoax— unless they were somehow involved in the crimes and were attempting to deflect suspicion onto an imaginary bogeyman. Horan has repeatedly suggested that park ranger Dennis Land may have been involved in the attack at Lake Berryessa. Dennis Land was one of the first people to respond to the scene of the stabbing. Land was driving near the crime scene and picked up surviving victim Bryan Hartnell. Prior to the stabbing, Hartnell had a brief conversation with the killer. If Land was the killer, Hartnell was sitting in a vehicle talking with the person who had just stabbed him but he did not recognize Land’s voice. Horan does not present any credible evidence linking Land to the stabbing.
Horan states that Dennis Land was considered a suspect in the Berryessa attack, but he does not provide any evidence to support that claim. None of the available files indicate that Land was ever considered a suspect. The evidence does not indicate that Land committed the crime or that Hal Snook wrote the Zodiac message on the car door or the Zodiac letters.
NEXT: Part V – THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS
Pt. 1 / Pt. 2 / Pt. 3 / Pt. 4 / Pt. 5 / Pt. 6 / Pt. 7 / Pt. 8