It’s an extraordinary and complex story, with nearly 100 murders, a big cast of characters, and the details cannot be absorbed easily or quickly. This article is about the basic thesis in the book : that Edwards was the Zodiac killer.
First some basic facts. Edwards was born on June 14, 1933 in Akron, Ohio. In 1956 after a series of armed robberies, he spent 3 years in Deer Lodge prison, Montana. In May 1962 he was sentenced to 16 years in prison. In 1967, he was paroled.
Now the thesis, and some of the evidence that supports it.
December 20, 1968, was the date of the first Zodiac Killer murders in California. The objective of Edwards was apparently to frame Frank Dryman, who he had met in Deer Lodge prison, 12 years earlier. The Zodiac Killer (Edwards) told one survivor that he had been in Deer Lodge prison, and wore a costume with a Zodiac symbol, as Dryman had done while in Deer Lodge prison.
On August 1, 1969, three letters were received at the Vallejo Times Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The San Francisco Examiner. The nearly identical letters took credit for the shootings at Lake Herman Road and Blue Rock Springs. Each letter also included one-third of a 408-symbol cryptogram which the killer claimed contained his identity.
A week later, the cryptogram was decoded, including the statement “all that I have killed will become my slaves”.
The last confirmed victim of the Zodiac was cab driver Paul Lee Stine, 29: shot and killed on October 11, 1969, in the Presidio Heights neighborhood in San Francisco.
In 1972, Edwards wrote an autobiography titled The Metamorphosis of a Criminal: The True Life Story of Ed Edwards.
In this autobiography he describes an inmate in Deer Lodge prison, stating “He believed that anyone he killed would be his slave in the next life”, this is intended to be Frank Dryman, who was paroled to Vallejo in January 1969. Apparently Edwards made a mistake in committing the first Zodiac murder just before Dryman was paroled.
Also in the autobiography, (page 392) Edwards quotes his aunt asking him to get out the cab two blocks from her house, due to his noteriety. This apparently refers to Beatrice Bellett, the first wife of John Bellett, Edward’s uncle.
“It’s Me” page 87 shows a Christmas 1970 photograph of Edwards (referred to as Wayne), with Edith Bellett (described as Edwards’ aunt), Ediths’ brother-in-law, Annabelle Meyers (“Wayne’s grandmother”), John Bellett, and “Kay” (described as “Wayne’s wife”).
The photo was obtained from Dawn Bellett, John Bellett’s daughter from an earlier marriage, who Cameron interviewed. Dawn said her mother, Beatrice, worked at “Lefty O’Douls”, an Irish pub in San Francisco, close to the intersection of Mason Street and Geary Boulevard, the location where Stine picked up the Zodiac before being murdered. Dawn also said her mother lived two blocks from where Stine was killed by the Zodiac in October 1969.
So it seems likely that Edwards picked up a cab after leaving the pub where Beatrice worked, then murdered the driver Paul Lee Stine, when he was dropped off, perhaps over a dispute over the fare or for some other reason.
On November 2, 2001, the day after Kent Heitholt was murdered, Edwards mentioned in a blog that it was the 35th anniversary of the death of CJB, meaning Cheri Jo Bates, who, aged18, was stabbed to death and nearly decapitated on October 30, 1966, at Riverside City College in Riverside. Bates’s possible connection to the Zodiac only appeared four years after her murder when San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery received an anonymous tip regarding similarities between the Zodiac killings and the circumstances surrounding Bates’s death. It seems that Edwards wanted to make this connection, as he was in prison at the time this murder was committed.
In 2010, the final part of the Zodiac cryptogram was finally decoded, it reads “I’m Edward E. Vexed I.Q. Hath You Greater Than I”, the final confirmation that Edwards was indeed the Zodiac.
In 2014, Cameron’s book was published. He stated that Edwards was responsible for the death of Laci Peterson.
In March 2015, a very similar Edwards cryptogram signature to a confession “I killed Laci Peterson” was decoded by myself, as “Edward E”. A final confirmation that Edwards was indeed the killer of Laci Peterson.
See also Edward Wayne Edwards : Relations.