https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/zodiac-speaking-bill-briere/December 31, 2017
Los Angeles, California
Zodiac’s 340Z Code (Mailed to San Francisco Chronicle 11.9.69
Spoiler Alert- For any readers that plan to watch the History Channel’s “The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer” be advised that the following critique contains numerous disclosures and addresses many of the show’s findings.
As many of you know, I have been reluctant to watch the recently aired episodic miniseries, “Hunt for Zodiac.”
These programs, while billing themselves as “a search for the truth” almost always do just the opposite.
A fog of sensationalism is created to promote the myth and legend in overly dramatic “recreations” as the show’s producers play fast and loose with the facts in an attempt to present “new truths,” as “alternative facts.” Each episode promising the solution is at hand so “stay tuned.”
In what should be a serious and objective search for the truth of whodunit by following the evidence almost always becomes a three-ring circus. The ringmasters are usually presented as a team of world-renowned investigators, experts all, who are determined to ferret out and solve these Cold Case crimes on-screen, regardless of how many television seasons it might take.
And so it goes.
So, here is my generalized critique specific to the History Channel’s five-part series, “The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer.”
Quickly into Episode 1, it becomes apparent that neither of the two-man team of detectives “working the case” has any serious background knowledge of the real facts. They have not done their homework, and that mistake will undermine and play a major negative role throughout the entire series.
Regardless, they quickly focus on two old Zodiac suspects and rather than following where the evidence leads them (Basic Homicide 101) they decide to see if they can make the evidence fit their preconceived “Prime suspects.” Unfortunately, they stick with this plan throughout the entire series.
The show would have us believe the detectives are discovering new evidence and making “new linkage” from crime to crime. They bounce from the known San Francisco Zodiac crimes to the Riverside Cheri Jo Bates crime, to a possible Santa Barbara double homicide, to the South Lake Tahoe, Donna Lass suspected Zodiac murder. Of course, to anyone even slightly familiar with the serial crimes, they know that all of these have been linked and looked at decades ago. Nothing new here.
Bomb-sniffing dogs are taken up to Mt. Diablo and cadaver dogs taken to a suspected location provided as an anonymous mail-in clue at “Donner Pass for Donna Lass.” (Though I have to admit that particular observation does have a very GHH ring to it.) Despite an “alert” by all three dogs in a generalized area, and the calling in of a forensic anthropologist for a dig. Alas, no body. No victim.
Despite the two detectives constant repetitive claims of “This is big. This is groundbreaking. This is huge.” By the end of the series, no evidence was presented to offer forth a viable suspect, and the show ended with their still hoping they might be able to identify one of their two “prime suspects” as Zodiac.
A lot of money was spent on producing this series. The producers were able to open doors in the LE community that had been locked tight with a big “Do Not Enter” sign for the past forty-eight years. Thanks to “The Media” those doors, at least in a few police and sheriff’s departments were unlocked and they were able to gain access to and permitted to have potential DNA evidence analyzed.
Good on them. I have been asking that this be done for the past ten-years, with not even so much as a response from any of the involved departments.
In three of my four books, (Most Evil 2009, BDA II 2012 and 2014, and in Most Evil II 2015) I have repeatedly asked that Law Enforcement retest and obtain confirmed Zodiac DNA.
Thanks to the efforts of the History Channel, it appears they may have accomplished what I could not. (New DNA samples obtained are pending comparison between cases. Zodiac Stine to Riverside Bates)
In addition to the DNA results, some apparent advancements (pending further confirmations) were made by the shows Geek Team of cryptologists and Artificial Intelligence experts using what they call their “supercomputer” named, CARMEL.
Carmel’s first contribution centered on the question of whether the 1966 Riverside PD Cheri Jo Bates murder was a legitimate Zodiac murder?
The 1966 Bates note included the words “twich and squirm” with twich misspelled. This was identical to the 1969 Mikado Zodiac letter which also included “twich and squirm” also twich misspelled.
Carmel agreed this must have been the same writer in both crimes pronouncing that the odds of it happening are “one in 1.5 million.”
The shows ace detectives agreed, declaring, “Our most amazing discovery to date. These matching words are like a fingerprint. They can’t be a coincidence.”
(Author’s Note to History Channel and detectives: While I didn’t have the benefit of a “supercomputer” I did present this evidence in my original publication of Most Evil (Dutton 2009). Here is a scan of the pages from my Chapter 15:
Super Computer Carmel’s Second Revelation:
“HERE IT IS”
Cryptologist Team member Craig Bauer working with leads from Carmel claims he has at least partially “cracked the 340Z Code.”
In his opinion, the opening line reads, “Here it is” and in his research, he presents a handwritten letter from the 1947 Black Dahlia Murder investigation, and makes the following on-air statement, “I found the same wording made by the Black Dahlia Avenger.” I think Black Dahlia killer could have been the source of inspiration for Zodiac.” (The on-screen leader under the BDA note reads, “Zodiac may have copycatted Black Dahlia Avenger.”
Seemingly unaware of my investigation and four books written on the subject that present Dr. George Hill Hodel as the same killer, along with QDE testimony (and my own identification) that the handwriting is George Hodel’s. Bauer goes on to speculate to his team members that “maybe Zodiac was copying the 1947 Black Dahlia Avenger.”
Below is my graphic included in BDA in 2003, showing the original HERE IT IS note as originally sent to police on January 26, 1947.
Carmel’s and Craig Bauer’s next deciphered claim is that a name is found in the middle of the coded text, followed by what Bauer believes is “gibberish.” (Other outside experts question that claim indicating that “ perhaps there is a second cipher concealed within the present cipher that will further illuminate Zodiac’s hidden message.” I tend to agree with them on that point.)
Bauer claims that inside the Z340 Code known to be mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle (George Hodel’s former employer) on November 9, 1969, the hidden signature reads:
RICHERD M NIKSON
If Craig Bauer is correct, why would Zodiac use the name of president Richard M. Nixon in his 340Z letter to the press?
(Richard M. Nixon was elected President of the United States one year prior on November 5, 1968.)
Would Zodiac in 1969 have any reason to have President Nixon’s name in his consciousness? Why include it in his cryptogram? Is there anything that would suggest a connection?
I answer with a most assured YES. And, forgive the pun (must be genetic) but HERE IT IS.
This front page headline from the November 9, 1968 Manila newspaper may explain why Zodiac/Hodel after conducting and spearheading an extensive survey likely lasting a year or more involving seven countries could well have had NIXON ON HIS MIND, even one year later.
Here is where the History Channel program, in my opinion, rolled first a seven then an eleven—The DNA.
Riverside Chief of Police Sergio Diaz greenlit his Homicide detective Jim Simons to allow access to Cheri Jo Bates property for DNA retesting. (Last tested in 2000) The sealed Riverside Property was transported to the AISOCC DNA lab in San Diego.
AISOCC Serologist Suzanna Ryan (seen in above photos) tested the pants worn by Cheri Jo Bates at the time of her murder for human blood. The result was “positive.” She then used an MVAC (micro vacuum) in an attempt to recover a new DNA sample.
The results indicated that “A male DNA sample mixture was obtained from the victim’s pants and is enough to compare.”
The show’s producers stated that the Bates new sample “is being sent to a respected DNA lab in Virginia in an attempt to develop a DNA profile.”
Ms. Pam Hofsass, reveals the existence of stranger DNA previously obtained from inside SFPD Stine gloves.
Ms. Pam Hofsass, Director, Forensic Services Division, Contra Costa County was contacted and interviewed. She formerly worked for SFPD assigned to the Zodiac case from 1989-2015. She had never previously spoken publicly regarding her findings.
Ms. Hofsass advised that in 2002 saliva from a stamp was found on one of the Zodiac letters, but it “showed weak and incomplete DNA.”
In a subsequent attempt to obtain DNA Ms. Hofsass tested the men’s size seven gloves found in the rear seat of the Stine cab. (Unclear exactly when this test was conducted by her but apparently post 2002?)
Her results, “Paul Stine’s blood was found on the outside of the gloves and there is an unknown male profile on the inside.”
The show closed with the statement that “they are going to compare the Bates DNA to the Stine gloves DNA.” (Analysis pending)
As far as I am concerned despite the History Channel’s tendency to sensationalize, overdramatize and to get on their horses and ride off in all directions, still they were able to get LE to cooperate.
This resulted in one new DNA sample and the disclosure that a second previously unknown DNA sample exists and more importantly it was obtained from what I have always maintained was the best potential source- THE STINE GLOVES.
This is good news going into 2018. I remain optimistic that this case will be “officially solved” through confirmed DNA.
Investigation Continued and HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Jan 2 2018 Update: For those who missed it, here is a link to a PDF of my previously published Avenger/Zodiac identical crime signatures as published in Most Evil II.
JAN 29 2018 UPDATE.
Cryptanalyst Bill Briere
EXCELLENT LENGTHY CRITIQUE OF HISTORY’S “HUNT FOR ZODIAC” BY CRYPTANALYST BILL BRIERE. SEE LINK BELOW.