SerialKillers/ Zodiac Killer
SerialKillers/ Zodiac Killer
TheZodiac was a serial killer who perpetrated several murders within theNorthern California region between the late 1960s and early 1970s.Several decades later, the police have not succeeded in revealing theidentity of the killer. The serial killer claimed that he wasresponsible for 37 murders in his various letters to localnewspapers. However, the police linked him to only five murders andthree aggravated assaults. This paper describes the profile of theZodiac killer as well as a possible theoretical framework thatexplains why the killer carried out the numerous killings.
Faradayand Betty Lou Jensen were the first victims of the Zodiac killer. Thetwo were high school students and were killed on December 20, 1968,on Lake Herman Road when they were on their first date. They hadplans of attending a Christmas event that was to take place at HoganHigh school located approximately three blocks from Jensen’sresidence. Instead of going to the event, Faraday and Jensen visiteda friend after which they stopped at a local Inn. They then drovealong the Lake Herman Road but at approximately 10: 15 Pm theyparked their car in a gravel turnout. At about 11: 00 Pm theircorpses were found by a person named Stella Borges. It washypothesized that the killer pulled into the turnout a few minutesbefore 11:00 after which he exited his car and walked towards thevictims`. He started by shooting Faraday on the head. Jensen triedto run but was shot down twenty-eight feet from their car.
Thesecond victims of Zodiac were Michael Renault Mageau and ElizabethFellin. The two were shot while sitting inside Ferrin’s car at theBlue Rock Springs Park. The killer parked behind the victims’ carbut left immediately only to return after about 10 minutes. He lefthis car and approached the victims’ carrying a flashlight which heused to blur their vision before shooting at them several times. OnSeptember 27, 1969, the killer attacked Cecelia Sheppard and BryanHartnell. During the incident, the killer used a knife to stab thetwo after tying them with a rope. After stabbing the victimsseverally, the murderer phoned the Napa County Sherriff’s officerusing a pay telephone. During his call to the police, the killerclaimed responsibility for the attack of Cecelia Sheppard and BryanHartnell(Katz, 2011).
Accordingto me, the killer was meticulous, organized, and intelligent. Hisintelligence can be ascertained by his prowess with the use ofcryptography. For several decades now, nobody has managed to decodethe ciphers sent to the police by Zodiac which he claimed containedhis identity. Additionally, I believe that Zodiac had lengthydiscussions with his friends about astrology. Most probably this washis best subject whenever he held discussions with his acquaintances.It is also possible that his connection with astrology went beyondhaving much knowledge about the subject. This means that the killerenjoyed a deep connection with the stars. Most likely the suspecthad a day job. This is seen in the way he chose the days toperpetrate his crimes. All of the crimes perpetrated by Zodiacoccurred after dark or dusk, around holidays, and during weekends. This shows that the killer had a day job that kept him engaged duringthe day such that he could only participate in his fantasies ofkilling people during the night, weekends, and holidays. In regardto his physique, the killer was strongly built and aggressive. Thisconclusion can be made from the witnesses’ testimonies. Mosteyewitnesses described the attacker as between 180 to 220 pounds. Additionally, the police found boot prints in one of the murderscenes that depicted the attacker as wearing shoe number 10. The shoesize compliments the victim`s narration that Zodiac was heavilybuilt. Besides, the killer was not afraid of confronting male victimswhich show that he had trust in his physical strength. Zodiac musthave viewed himself as a skilled hunter. This is seen in the way hedepicted man as the best target for a hunter since human beings haveintelligence and they may hit back.
Ibelieve that Zodiac falls in the category of power-oriented killers.These are organized serial killers who are extremely difficult toapprehend. For instance, nobody has managed to reveal the identity ofZodiac several decades later. According to Zeigler(2011),the ability of power-oriented serial murderers such as Zodiac toevade being caught is as result of their relatively high IQ. ForZodiac, it seemed that he prepared for the type of crime he was aboutto commit in advance and ensured that he would not leave a trace. Additionally, organized killers take pride in their heinous actions(Zeigler, 2011).As such, they pay close attention to what the mass media is sayingabout their actions. Additionally, they are likely to contact thepolice officers probably to tease them as a way of demonstratingtheir high intelligence or to distract them from following clues thatmay result in their arrest(Zeigler, 2011).These traits of power-oriented killers resonate with the actions ofZodiac in the way he phoned the local police to report about hiscrimes. Additionally, he demanded that his letters be published onthe front pages of the local dairies. He claimed that he would attacka school bus if his letters were not published as per hisinstructions. According to him, he got awfully lonely when he wasignored (Katz,2011). At some point, he demanded that people start wearing clothes that hadhis unique label. This shows that he enjoyed being in the limelight.These pieces of evidence show that Zodiac was a power-oriented serialkiller.
Zodiac’smotivation was to demonstrate his superiority. The one thing that isclear from Zodiac’s case is that the killer enjoyed the controlthat he had over the investigations regarding the crimes that he hadcommitted. This is seen in the way he sent letters to the localdairies. This shows that most probably the killer fantasized ofbeing a police officer but could not join the career for somereasons. Additionally, the zodiac killer was not certain about hisintelligence. This is the reasons he enjoyed playing games with thepolice as a way of flaunting his high intelligent quotient.Additionally, his games with the law enforcement officers boosted hisego. The killer wanted attention which could only be achieved throughhim controlling the investigation and by creating terror is theregion in addition to relieving about his crimes through the media. Most serial killers are motivated by a variety of psychological urgessuch as sexual frustrations and desire for power. To some extent, theZodiac killer was sexually frustrated considering as depicted by thepeople he chose as his victim. The victims of the serial killer wereaged between 17 and 30. One can argue that Zodiac was motivated byhis sexual frustration when choosing his victims because most of hisvictims were young couples. Additionally, most serial killersexhibit traits of negative and disorganized thinking as well asbipolar disorders. They also express negative feelings andfrustration with the society for what they consider their rejection(Zeigler2011).Violent actions provide the killer with a sense of satisfaction sincethey give him/her a feeling of power before and after executing them(Terracciano, 2011).The same can be said about Zodiac since in one of his ciphers to thepolice he said that he enjoyed hunting human beings because they aremore intelligent than other animals. The knowledge that they haveoutwitted the police and the public about their murder also adds asense of power to serial killers. The Zodiac murderer enjoyed thecontrol accorded to him by the local police and media.Each daythat passed without him being caught reinforced his opinion about thedumbness of the police and his superiority over them. According toTerracciano (2011), serial killers perceive themselves as moreintelligent, and this can be seen in the way Zodiac used ciphers toconceal his identity.
Thepolice had several suspects whom they linked to the murders committedby the Zodiac killer. The suspect included Lawrence Kane, BruceDavis, Michael O’Hare and Arthur Leigh Allen. I think that ArthurLeigh was the Zodiac killer. First, Arthur worked as an elementaryschool teacher(Katz, 2012).The killer only attacked during the night, at dusk, weekends, andholidays. This shows that the zodiac killer was preoccupied duringthe day. On this note, Allen’s job as an elementary school teachermust have left him frustrated as he viewed himself as a failure,particularly because he perceived himself as highly intelligent. Assuch, he decided to embark on the mass killing while engaging thepolice in games that would reinforce his perception of him beinghighly intelligent. Additionally, Leigh was heavily built, and hisshoe`s size was number 10. Additionally, he was given a jail termfor child molestation in 1974. This is the same period that Zodiac’skillings ceased. Some of Allen’s friend said that he confessed tothem about him being the Zodiac killer. This shows that he enjoyedbeing recognized by his friends as being extraordinary. According toZeigler (2011), theperiod of a serial killer’s inactivity is marked by him/herexhibiting symptoms of moodiness, smoking or drinking more thanusual, and behaving erratically. Allen was also a heavy drinker whichmay point to his frustration with his life which shows that mostprobably he was the Zodiac killer.
Inconclusion, the Zodiac was a serial killer who claimed responsibilityto the murder of over 30 people between late 1960s and early 1970s.However, the police only linked the killer to eight assaults, five ofwhich resulted in death. The Zodiac killer used a variety of weaponssuch as knives and guns. He also contacted the police aftercommitting the crimes in addition to sending letters to the pressthat contained a three-part cipher that he claimed would reveal hisidentity if decoded. From his modus operandi, one can conclude thatthe Zodiac was a power-oriented killer who enjoyed being in thelimelight.
Katz,H. (2012). Coldcases: Famous unsolved mysteries, crimes, and disappearances inAmerica.ABC-CLIO.
Terracciano,K. (2011). Criminal profiling. Accessed on December 14, 2016.http://digitalcommons.olin.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1019&context=ahs_capstone_2011
Zeigler,N. (2011). Inside the mind of a serial killer. Accessed on December14, 2016.http://www.lycoming.edu/schemata/documents/soccriminology_fall2009issue.veryveryfinalpdf.pdf