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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise: Holes Emerging in Woman's Zodiac Killer Claim

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 1:11 PM

click to enlarge Questions arise...
  • Questions arise...
The carnival-like Wednesday press conference in which Deborah Perez claimed her father was the Zodiac Killer -- alongside her lawyer Kevin McLean (disbarred this month), other lawyer William DeGarmo (who paid out $54,332 in a Securities and Exchange Commission settlement regarding insider trading) and a handwriting expert who also stands to gain as a producer of her pending documentary -- certainly brings to mind the phrase "guilt by association."

And never mind the fact that claiming one of your deceased relatives was the Zodiac Killer is apparently akin to shouting out "I'm Spartacus!" Those passionate about the Zodiac case have started to poke holes in Perez' claims. Steve Huff has been questioning Perez' validity since last year.

Huff edits the True Crime Report Web site -- a branch of Village Voice Media just like the site you're currently reading. Huff says Perez pitched an author friend of his named M. William Phelps her story as a possible book project in the summer of last year. The author ran Perez' e-mails by Huff at the time; Huff was extremely skeptical then and continues to be today.

"On the surface, her story is compelling -- but it doesn't hold water at all," Huff said. He notes that, when peppered with tough questions, Perez broke off contact with Phelps.

You can read Huff's full refutation here, but these are among his key points:   

  • In an e-mail Huff reviewed, Perez claims to have written one of Zodiac's cards, and tells an elaborate story about how she thought up one of the lines. That line, however, is clearly part of the card's pre-printed message;
  • Logistically, Perez' description of the shootings of David Faraday and Betty Jensen, raises red flags. Her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, would have had to drive all the way from Orange County to Vallejo with a small child in tow, murder two people, drive all the way back, and still spend the night at a relative's house.
  • Hendrickson would have been 54 when he started his killing spree -- far older than the descriptions of the Zodiac Killer from eyewitnesses at the time -- and suspiciously old to lapse into a serial killer lifestyle;

"What I'm getting at overall," concludes Huff, "Is that her story doesn't pass the B.S. test."

NOTE: Phelps had originally hoped to remain anonymous, but later gave Huff consent to use his name so as lend this story veracity. This post originally did not use Phelps' name, but has been updated.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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