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The Zodiac Killer

Date Friday - November 14, 2014
Host Richard Syrett
Guests Tom VoigtOpen Lines

Filling in for George, Richard Syrett welcomed Tom Voigt, an expert on the Zodiac Killer case, for a discussion on the infamously enigmatic murders which gripped the San Francisco area in the 1960s and 70s. Voigt observed that, aside from the unsolved nature of the crimes, the Zodiac slayings are particularly intriguing because of the murderer's theatrical tactics such as writing taunting letters to the police and press as well as penning elaborately coded messages which allegedly contained his name. "It's not enough to just get away with the crime, he's got to make it a game," Voigt said, likening the Zodiac to a comic book villain. In the four decades since the murders, the Zodiac has become a veritable American version of Jack the Ripper as countless potential suspects have been investigated by researchers in an attempt to decipher the killer's identity which still remains a mystery.

Based on the Zodiac's penchant for seeking publicity, Voigt theorized that the true motivation behind the murder spree was to instill terror in the community rather than simply to satisfy the killer's bloodlust. To that end, he pointed to the change in victims, from a young couple at a lover's lane to a single man in a wealthy neighborhood, as evidence that the Zodiac wanted everyone to be afraid and to think that they could be his next target. "That seems to be what his signature was," Voigt suggested, "that terrorism angle is what Zodiac needed to get fulfillment from his crimes." As such, he surmised that attempts to profile the Zodiac Killer may be misguided because they depict him as merely a crazed murderer and overlook the possibility that his actual agenda was to create chaos.

During his appearance, Voigt also reflected on the creation and evolution of his website which serves as a massive repository for information on the crime. Having helmed the site for nearly twenty years, Voigt revealed that it has now become so big that nearly every waking hour of his day is either spent posting new information about the case or responding to the hundreds of emails he receives on a daily basis. Despite the project consuming all of his resources and forcing him into living a day-to-day financial existence, Voigt expressed no regrets over his decision to undertake the challenge because "I really feel like we're going to solve this" and, at that point, all of his sacrifices will have been worthwhile.

The final hour of the program featured Open Lines.

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Bumper music from Friday November 14, 2014

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