Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SFPD not thrilled

"When “Zodiac” hits theaters early next month, its arrival will be greeted with a new round of media coverage — the media being the fuel for why the case has received publicity well beyond its due. And our local police will greet the news with as about as much enthusiasm as being stuck in the middle of a riot.

“I hate that case,” said San Francisco police Capt. John Hennessey, who was the head of homicide investigations when the case was put on ice. “It just sucks the oxygen out of everything around it.” So why are the embers still burning on a story so old it creaks with middle age? Because the Zodiac was the one who got away — and was as much a genius of self-promotion as he was a cold-blooded killer.

His first confirmed killing was five days before Christmas in 1968, when he shot and killed two teenagers along a remote road in Vallejo. He killed two other people before his last homicide, the execution-style murder of San Francisco cabdriver Paul Stine in Presidio Heights.

The Stine slaying was the only killing linked to the Zodiac in San Francisco, yet he is inevitably tied to The City because of the bright lights placed on the letters he sent to The Examiner and mostly the Chronicle, that received front-page placement.

The person most people identified as the potential killer died in 1992.

My own theory on why the Zodiac case has received so much attention is that it has been caught up in a vortex of other killings during a particularly violent and bloody period in Bay Area history.

Up until a few years ago, police were getting calls on the Zodiac on almost a daily basis, but it took so much time and attention away from ongoing homicide cases that they put it on the inactive list until the day they get a lead that might actually go somewhere.

But they were definitely hoping it wouldn’t go to Hollywood, backed by a marketing campaign. It’s a legend in the (movie-) making." -by Ken Garcia.

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