By: Jake Reece
Arthur Leigh Allen was and remains the prime suspect for the horrifying Zodiac killings in California during the 60s and 70s. Although there was never enough concrete evidence to suggest Allen was the Zodiac, there is a tremendous amount of circumstantial evidence against him, leading me to believe there is no other possible suspect. Circumstantial evidence, to me, should be considered as seriously as if it were factual evidence, especially in a case like this where Arthur Leigh Allen has so many “coincidental” connections to the killer. Arthur Leigh Allen, in my opinion, was the Zodiac.
On the night of July 4, 1969, Darleen Ferrin and Michael Mageau were shot in their car in Blue Rock Springs Park in Vallejo, California. The Zodiac was carrying a flashlight and a 9mm Luger, killing Ferrin and severely wounding Mageau. Mageau would later identify Allen as the man who shot him from a suspect lineup photo. (Voigt)
On October 11, 1969, the Zodiac shot and killed taxi cab driver Paul Stine in San Fransisco, leaving behind size 7 black-leather gloves. Officer Don Fouke, originally responding to the call that stated the killer was a black male, saw a middle-aged, stocky white male of average height with a crew cut and glasses casually walking down the street away from the crime scene with a slight limp. The call was later corrected to a white male after Fouke ignored the passing man. The Zodiac later sent a letter to the press that confirmed Fouke saw him. Allen matched this general physical description and after a surgery he underwent years prior, walked with a slight limp. Although he did not wear glasses, the Zodiac stated in one of his letters that he wore a disguise. (Voigt)
Another significant Zodiac case on March 22, 1970 on Highway 132 involved Kathleen Johns getting kidnapped by a man after he reportedly stopped her, told her that one of the wheels on her car was loose, and removed the bolts. Johns jumped out of the man’s moving car and hid. (Voigt)
Don Cheney, a friend of Allen, reported chilling comments he had made to him prior to the 1969 Zodiac murders. According to Cheney, Allen talked about killing many people at random, taunting the police with letters and ciphers, using a cross with a circle around it for a signature, calling himself the Zodiac, attaching a flashlight to his gun so he could shoot people in the dark, and loosening the bolts on a woman’s car. (Voigt) In an interview with Cheney, he remembered Allen showing him a gun with a flashlight fixed to the top with duct tape that matched the light to the scope’s sight. (Prior 2008)
The Zodiac was known for sending letters and ciphers to The Chronicle, often containing oddly misspelled words. People who knew Allen commented how he would purposely misspell words because he thought it was funny. Although Allen’s handwriting did not match that of the Zodiac letters, he was ambidextrous, leading me to believe he was able to write very differently with his other hand. One of the Zodiac’s letters contained blueprints for explosives and stated he would “shoot out the front tire and then pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out.” (Voigt) Upon investigation of his trailer, police found a 9mm Luger and explosives. Allen was reported to wear size 10 ½ Wing Walker military issued boot, the same size and type footprint found at a Zodiac crime scene, size 7 gloves, and he wore a Zodiac brand watch, displaying the same symbol signature used in the letters on the face. (Chasingthefrog 2014) An early decoded Zodiac cipher read: “I like killing people because it is so much fun; It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous game of all.” (Voigt) Allen was known to have knowledge of cipher, and he loved the book The Most Dangerous Game, which was about hunting human beings. Allen also possessed a Royal typewriter with elite type, the same typewriter and type used by the Zodiac. Lastly, after Allen’s death in August 26, 1992, the Zodiac letters stopped.
What makes horror movie killers scary is the fact that they have this power that allows them to stay hidden. They are smart, confident, and are mostly able to avoid capture. We take comfort in knowing that the killers in these movies are not real and that we are safe from them. The Zodiac, however, is essentially one of these killers that has ripped out of the movie screens and into the world we live in. He has all of the scary attributes we would expect a movie killer to have, except he was never actually caught. With little hope for the future, the Zodiac case is one that will most likely remain officially unsolved.
To read more about the Zodiac and Allen, click here or watch the video below.
Voigt, Tom. “The Arthur Leigh Allen File.” Zodiac Killer. ZodiacKiller.com.
Voigt, Tom. “The Victims.” Zodiac Killer. ZodiacKiller.com. Web.
Voigt, Tom. “The Letters/Ciphers.” Zodiac Killer. ZodiacKiller.com. Web.
“Movie vs. Zodiac Killer True Story.” Chasing the Frog. Chasingthefrog.com, CTF Media. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. <http://www.chasingthefrog.com/reelfaces/zodiac.php>.
“His Name Was Arthur Leigh Allen.” David Prior, 2008; < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrYITFhq7cE>