Common myths about the Zodiac Killer

Myth #1: Michael Mageau equivocated during his 1992 interview

Michael Mageau was interviewed by George Bawart on July 26, 1992 (the date noted in the "Zodiac" movie is wrong). In the movie, Mageau identified Arthur Leigh Allen from a photo lineup, before equivocating and saying "He had a round face like this guy.". In real life, Mageau unequivocally identified Arthur Leigh Allen, saying "That's the man who shot me.". Bawart was so ecstatic, that at the end of the interview, he immediately called Capt. Roy Conway in Vallejo to share the news. After a trip to Germany in August to interview Robert Rodifer (a potential candidate for the Robert Emmett the Hippie anagram in the 408 cipher), Bawart and the Vallejo PD were prepared to charge Allen with murder. Allen would die a week before the charging conference could take place.

Myth #2: The DNA test on the 2002 ABC special cleared the three suspects tested

ABC ran a special in 2002 in which DNA testing was performed on the envelope from a known Zodiac letter. The public was led to believe that the DNA came from the back of the stamp on the envelope and that Arthur Leigh Allen, Kjell Qvale and Charles Collins had been eliminated as Zodiac suspects. The DNA actually came from the front of the envelope. It could have belonged to a postal worker or any number of workers at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Myth #3: The fingerprints lifted from Paul Stine's cab are high quality prints

The fingerprints found in Paul Stine's blood are partial prints of poor quality. They lack the ridge detail necessary to exclude anyone. There are other prints that were lifted from various places but it isn't known if they belong to the killer. Inspector William Armstrong stated that the police don't know if they have Zodiac's prints at all.

Myth #4: Arthur Leigh Allen has been cleared as the Zodiac Killer

He is the prime suspect of the Vallejo PD to this day. No law enforcement agency has ever cleared him. There is no known physical evidence capable of clearing him.

Myth #5: Richard Gaikowski was out of the country for the Lake Herman Road killing.

There is no evidence to support this claim. Ken Narlow had to terminate his surveillance after Darlene Ferrin's sister confronted Gaikowski. Gaikowski told the FBI he lost his passport.

Myth #6: The Zodiac Killer wiped fingerprints from Paul Stine's cab.

The police never believed that to be true. Zodiac was known to have entered and exited the car from the passenger side. There was no reason for him to wipe down the driver side of the car. You would then have to believe that someone who was so conscientious of forensics would press bloody fingerprints onto the car and not make any effort to obliterate them. That makes no sense! One of the original detectives asked, "Why do you assume that one of the kids didn't leave those prints when they checked on Paul Stine?" We asked for clarification about whether the children admitted to such activity but they would only say "Don't assume anything about that crime scene. Nothing is as it seems."