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Zodiac Killer

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The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who committed numerous homicides in Northern California in the late 1960’s. The identity of the Zodiac Killer was never discovered, and though there was a compiled list of possible suspects, the real Zodiac Killer is still a mystery today. It is confirmed that he killed at least five people, yet he claims to have killed much more than that according to letters he sent in. During his reign of terror, he would send cryptic letters to the local newspapers. These letters included four cryptograms, which are messages in which the writer replaces letters with symbols. These puzzles were nearly impossible to decode, and they made it that much more difficult for anyone to discover his identity. In these letters, he would take responsibility for his murders and also threaten to harm more innocent people, including children. With these letters, the Zodiac Killer also made a mockery of the San Francisco Police Department and caused panic throughout the entire community (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). Out of the four letters that were sent, only one was officially solved by a couple who happened to see the letter on the front page of the paper. The first known murders took place on December 20, 1968 in Vallejo, California. The victims were Betty Lou Jensen, a sixteen-year-old female, and David Faraday, a seventeen-year-old male. As the story goes, they were sitting in their car at a lake when the Zodiac Killer approached them. David Faraday was shot in the head once, and he died on the way to the hospital. Betty Lou Jensen was shot five times and died on the scene. The next murders took place on July 4, 1969, almost 7 months after the first ones, at the Blue Rock Springs Park, also located in Vallejo, California (Zodiac Revisited, 2012). Again, the set of victims was another couple. Darlene Ferrin, a twenty-two-year-old female and Michael Mageau, a nineteen-year-old male, were attacked while sitting in their car, unable to defend themselves from the firearm. Darlene Ferrin was shot five times, and she died on the way to the hospital, like David Faraday. Michael Mageau was shot four times, but fortunately, he survives the attempted murder (Zodiac Revisited, 2012). A couple of weeks later, after both of these attacks, the Zodiac Killer sends the cryptogram letters to three different newspaper companies and takes responsibility for the murders. Each of the letters included one-third of a 408-character cipher. In one of these letters, the Zodiac Killer actually identifies himself as “The Zodiac.” He demands each newspaper company to put these letters on the front pages of the next day’s newspapers. If this demand was not met, he threatened he would go out and kill more people. On September 27, 1969, a little over two months since his last murders, the Zodiac Killer attacked again. His previous two killing sprees took place at night, but this time, he murdered at Lake Berryessa, near Napa, California, in the middle of the day. The victims were Cecilia Shepard, a twenty-two-old female, and Brian Hartnell, a twenty-year-old male. Again, it was another couple he attacked. The victims were in the middle of a picnic when the Zodiac approached them (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). He tied them both up and then stabbed both of them repeatedly. This was the first time he had used anything other than a gun. Brian Hartnell was stabbed six times but managed to survive while Cecilia Shepard was stabbed many more times. Shepard later died due to her injuries. On October 11, 1969, the Zodiac made his last confirmed murder in San Francisco while riding in a taxi. He killed the taxi cab driver, Paul Stine, a twenty-nine-year-old male, by shooting him in the head and killing him instantly (Zodiac Revisited, 2012). A couple of days after this October incident, the Zodiac Killer takes responsibility for the recent homicides by sending another letter to a local newspaper. He also sends a piece of Paul Stine’s shirt that he ripped off the night he committed the murder as proof. In this letter, he also includes a threat to kill school children as they come off the bus, in addition to threatening to blow up a school bus (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). As the weeks go by, he sends more and more letters that include more cryptic messages and threats.
On March 22, 1970, Kathleen Johns, who was 23 at the time, is driving with her very young daughter when she is suddenly stopped by another driver to inform her that one of her back wheels seems to be loose. The driver of that car actually turned out to be the Zodiac, which he confirmed later after sending a letter to the local newspaper. He states how he offers to help her out by “fixing” the wheel, but in reality, he actually loosens it. Moments later, while Kathleen Johns is driving, the wheel comes flying off, and she is offered a ride by the Zodiac to a nearby gas station for help. She agrees to this ride. After driving for a couple of hours on the back roads and realizing that they are not going to a gas station, Johns and her daughter manage to escape the car when he came to a stop (Zodiac Revisited, 2012). In 1970, after these attacks, the Zodiac was connected to a previous murder that took place on October 30,1966, in Riverside, California. Cherri Jo Bates, an eighteen-year-old female, was murdered shortly after leaving her school library. She was brutally beaten and stabbed to death. The Zodiac seemed to be a suspect to this murder because the killer had also sent a confession to the local newspaper (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). Additionally, there are other attacks that the Zodiac has been linked to during this time period, but no one is sure if he committed them. He sent his last letter to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1978, and after this, he was never heard from again. To this day, the identity of the Zodiac Killer still remains unknown. He has become one of the greatest unsolved mysteries over the decades, just like Jack the Ripper and his serial killings in the late 1800’s. Although there have been dozens of suspects who could be the Zodiac Killer, none of them have been successfully traced to any of the murders. His murders were all very well planned out, and he never left any sort of evidence behind; however, his actions have unfortunately inspired other serial killers to go out and mock his vicious ways. The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who committed numerous homicides in Northern California in the late 1960’s. The identity of the Zodiac Killer was never discovered, and though there was a compiled list of possible suspects, the real Zodiac Killer is still a mystery today. It is confirmed that he killed at least five people, yet he claims to have killed much more than that according to letters he sent in. During his reign of terror, he would send cryptic letters to the local newspapers. These letters included four cryptograms, which are messages in which the writer replaces letters with symbols. These puzzles were nearly impossible to decode, and they made it that much more difficult for anyone to discover his identity. In these letters, he would take responsibility for his murders and also threaten to harm more innocent people, including children. With these letters, the Zodiac Killer also made a mockery of the San Francisco Police Department and caused panic throughout the entire community (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). Out of the four letters that were sent, only one was officially solved by a couple who happened to see the letter on the front page of the paper. The first known murders took place on December 20, 1968 in Vallejo, California. The victims were Betty Lou Jensen, a sixteen-year-old female, and David Faraday, a seventeen-year-old male. As the story goes, they were sitting in their car at a lake when the Zodiac Killer approached them. David Faraday was shot in the head once, and he died on the way to the hospital. Betty Lou Jensen was shot five times and died on the scene. The next murders took place on July 4, 1969, almost 7 months after the first ones, at the Blue Rock Springs Park, also located in Vallejo, California (Zodiac Revisited, 2012). Again, the set of victims was another couple. Darlene Ferrin, a twenty-two-year-old female and Michael Mageau, a nineteen-year-old male, were attacked while sitting in their car, unable to defend themselves from the firearm. Darlene Ferrin was shot five times, and she died on the way to the hospital, like David Faraday. Michael Mageau was shot four times, but fortunately, he survives the attempted murder (Zodiac Revisited, 2012). A couple of weeks later, after both of these attacks, the Zodiac Killer sends the cryptogram letters to three different newspaper companies and takes responsibility for the murders. Each of the letters included one-third of a 408-character cipher. In one of these letters, the Zodiac Killer actually identifies himself as “The Zodiac.” He demands each newspaper company to put these letters on the front pages of the next day’s newspapers. If this demand was not met, he threatened he would go out and kill more people. On September 27, 1969, a little over two months since his last murders, the Zodiac Killer attacked again. His previous two killing sprees took place at night, but this time, he murdered at Lake Berryessa, near Napa, California, in the middle of the day. The victims were Cecilia Shepard, a twenty-two-old female, and Brian Hartnell, a twenty-year-old male. Again, it was another couple he attacked. The victims were in the middle of a picnic when the Zodiac approached them (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). He tied them both up and then stabbed both of them repeatedly. This was the first time he had used anything other than a gun. Brian Hartnell was stabbed six times but managed to survive while Cecilia Shepard was stabbed many more times. Shepard later died due to her injuries. On October 11, 1969, the Zodiac made his last confirmed murder in San Francisco while riding in a taxi. He killed the taxi cab driver, Paul Stine, a twenty-nine-year-old male, by shooting him in the head and killing him instantly (Zodiac Revisited, 2012). A couple of days after this October incident, the Zodiac Killer takes responsibility for the recent homicides by sending another letter to a local newspaper. He also sends a piece of Paul Stine’s shirt that he ripped off the night he committed the murder as proof. In this letter, he also includes a threat to kill school children as they come off the bus, in addition to threatening to blow up a school bus (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). As the weeks go by, he sends more and more letters that include more cryptic messages and threats.
On March 22, 1970, Kathleen Johns, who was 23 at the time, is driving with her very young daughter when she is suddenly stopped by another driver to inform her that one of her back wheels seems to be loose. The driver of that car actually turned out to be the Zodiac, which he confirmed later after sending a letter to the local newspaper. He states how he offers to help her out by “fixing” the wheel, but in reality, he actually loosens it. Moments later, while Kathleen Johns is driving, the wheel comes flying off, and she is offered a ride by the Zodiac to a nearby gas station for help. She agrees to this ride. After driving for a couple of hours on the back roads and realizing that they are not going to a gas station, Johns and her daughter manage to escape the car when he came to a stop (Zodiac Revisited, 2012). In 1970, after these attacks, the Zodiac was connected to a previous murder that took place on October 30,1966, in Riverside, California. Cherri Jo Bates, an eighteen-year-old female, was murdered shortly after leaving her school library. She was brutally beaten and stabbed to death. The Zodiac seemed to be a suspect to this murder because the killer had also sent a confession to the local newspaper (“Zodiac Killer,” 2014). Additionally, there are other attacks that the Zodiac has been linked to during this time period, but no one is sure if he committed them. He sent his last letter to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1978, and after this, he was never heard from again. To this day, the identity of the Zodiac Killer still remains unknown. He has become one of the greatest unsolved mysteries over the decades, just like Jack the Ripper and his serial killings in the late 1800’s. Although there have been dozens of suspects who could be the Zodiac Killer, none of them have been successfully traced to any of the murders. His murders were all very well planned out, and he never left any sort of evidence behind; however, his actions have unfortunately inspired other serial killers to go out and mock his vicious ways.

References
Zodiac Killer. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 5, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zodiac_Killer Zodiac Revisited. (2012, February 20). Who was the Zodiac Killer?. The Zodiac Revisited.
Retrieved from http://zodiacrevisited.com/who-was-the-zodiac-killer/

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Serial Killers

...Serial Killer Psychology By Anna Davis Criminal psychology refers to the study of the mental and behavioral characteristics of people who break laws established by local, state, national or international governments. Some criminal, or forensic, psychologists focus their research on serial killers -- men and women who murder a large number of people over an extended period of time — typically months or years. What constitutes a serial killer is open to interpretation. In the United States, Congress has defined a serial killer as someone who murders a minimum of three or more people. By definition, a cooling-off period separates the murders, making them appear random or unconnected. The victims — often prostitutes, runaways or other vulnerable populations — rarely know their killer and may serve as a symbol that triggers the attack. In other words, a serial killer's motive tends to be psychological, not material. Understanding what goes on — or gets turned off — in a serial killer's mind is the ultimate goal of scientists who specialize in this area of psychology. You might think the field is relatively new, but it dates back to at least the 19th century, when psychologists tried to develop a profile of the mysterious and elusive Jack the Ripper. Antisocial Personality Disorder vs. Psychopathy Mental health professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), developed by the American Psychiatric Association, to understand the......

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