Was Melvin Belli to be the 6th Zodiac victim?

I don’t think there is any doubt that the crank who wanted Mel Belli on the Jim Dunbar show on October 22, 1969, inspired The ‘Zodiac’ Killer to dovetail on the idea of bringing the famous and flamboyant attorney into the picture. Anything with Belli after all was big publicity, and ZODIAC liked to play that game.

We all know that in late December 1969 the real ZODIAC wrote a letter to Mel Belli addressed to his Montgomery street house. The tenor of what’s in the letter springboards from the character of the alternately whimpering and angry caller on the Dunbar show called “Sam” who said he was the ‘Zodiac’ Killer. The real ZODIAC saw enough of the show to imitate the mindset of the caller.

Bell-Dunbar

Belli and Dunbar listen to “Sam.”

Some years ago some web sleuths realized that in writing the envelope to Belli, the ZODIAC imitated the font used in Belli’s own address. The clarity was a stark contrast to previous and succeeding ZODIAC envelope printing.  It was his little way of saying he had been physically in front of Belli’s house, long enough to note the seemingly unimportant type of characters used in his address.

Bell-letter envelope-2

It was one way to strike terror, though it clearly had not worked. But that doesn’t mean ZODIAC didn’t think it would work.

It should have been taken seriously. He threatened school buses. This implied he had a powerful rifle with a scope.  He had used a .22 on Lake Herman Road, a 9mm at Blue Rock Springs, possibly had a .45 at Lake Berryessa, and used a different 9mm on Stine. Why shouldn’t SFPD believe he had a powerful rifle as well?

ZODIAC needed a big ante in his game to get attention. Terrorizing or killing the King of Torts would do that. It would be sensational frosting on an already sensational cake that had begun on October 22. It never came about, but did he contemplate it for real?

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

 

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