Catching Killers (2021) s03e02 Episode Script

Night Terror: New York Zodiac Killer

[haunting piano music playing]
[subway train rattling on tracks]
[tense music playing]
This was just the beginning of it,
right here.
We had a senior citizen shot.
- [siren wailing]
- [indistinct radio chatter]
[detective] I was informed
by night watch detectives
that the victim was removed
to Jamaica Hospital.
Joe Proce lived
in this basement apartment.
He was a lonely, old, defenseless guy
who was now fighting for his life.
[tense music continues]
[detective] The Seven-Five Precinct
led the city.
Over 100 shootings a year.
But the strange thing
on this one case, this note was there.
This cryptic, eerie note.
At the top is a circle with three symbols.
"This is the Zodiac."
"The 12 sign will die
when the belts in the heaven are seen."
I thought,
"Who the fuck are we dealing with?"
We had no idea of what was to come.
- [horn blares]
- [rifle cocks]
[detective] What was in front of us.
- [sounds fade]
- [somber theme music playing]
[theme music fades]
- [interviewer] Very nice suit, Mike.
- Yes.
I have a very good tailor.
He sews my name in. [chuckles]
I grew up smack-dab
in the middle of the Bronx.
[energetic music playing]
[Ciravolo] I used to see cops
on patrol in my neighborhood.
I liked the way they looked in uniform.
I was 17 years old
when that yearbook came out.
Two months later, I put up my right hand,
and I was sworn into the NYPD.
They wanted me to be an undercover
in the vice squad.
And that's the stepping stone
to my detective shield.
I wind up being the commanding officer
of the Senior Citizens Robbery Unit.
That's where I was in 1990,
the day Joe Proce was shot.
I've got an old man
in the hospital, fighting for his life.
[siren wails]
[Ciravolo] At the scene was clothes
that were cut off the victim
so they can render medical aid to him.
I remember distinctly.
A detective picked up the coat,
and he shook it.
a lead round, a bullet,
fell down onto the concrete steps.
The bullet had passed through Joe Proce
and had come to rest in his heavy coat.
[siren wailing]
[somber piano music playing]
Once we were able to interview him,
he said he was out for his nightly walk.
The guy followed him.
He told him, "Get away from me.
I don't have any money."
And that's when he was shot.
It was dark.
His eyesight was not good.
He couldn't tell us
what the perpetrator looked like.
So it wasn't really helpful.
[tense music playing]
[phone ringing]
[Ciravolo] Guns are unique.
There's lands and grooves inside.
So you can match it that this bullet
was fired from this this firearm.
In this particular case, the bullet
didn't have any unique markings on it.
No lands and grooves.
He was using a zip gun.
A crude, homemade gun.
It's basically a length of pipe.
There's a rubber band,
like a slingshot, with a nail in it.
Zip gun.
They're impossible to trace.
It's just a piece of plumbing.
The note was reminiscent
of the famous San Francisco Zodiac.
In the late '60s, he taunted the police
and the press with cryptic notes.
And I know he killed a lot of people.
He had never been caught.
As far as we knew, he was still out there.
So we sent our New York Zodiac notes
to the crime lab in San Francisco
to make a comparison against.
[energetic music playing]
[Ciravolo] Ballistics is telling us
there's nothing to identify firearm used.
"Oh shit."
I call the lab to see
if they can tell us anything.
"Okay, there's no fingerprints
on this note."
"Oh shit."
Days are passing.
We're not catching a break.
And you have to appreciate,
resources went to the homicides.
The Seven-Five Precinct
were inundated with homicides.
It was like the ocean.
The waves just kept comin' in.
And at that point,
we didn't know there were others.
- [ominous music playing]
- [horns honking on expressway]
[phone ringing in distance]
[phone continues ringing]
[Ciravolo] So, I got a call
from the detective in Brooklyn.
"Mike, there's a note here,
and it looks like the note we found
at the Proce scene a couple of weeks ago."
[fax machine whirring]
[eerie music playing]
There it was. "This is the Zodiac."
Another note.
I said, "How'd you get this?"
He says, "This New York Post reporter
got this mailed to the Post,
and she sent it to us."
The handwriting was spot-on.
And in this one, he wrote,
"All shoot in Brooklyn
with .380 RNL or nine millimeter."
"No grooves on bullet."
And it's something
that only the shooter knows.
And then I noticed,
"On May 31st, white old man with cane.
Shoot in front of house."
This is Joe Proce.
But there's also two other shootings
preceding Joe Proce
that we're totally unaware of.
- [clock ticking]
- [tense music playing]
[Ciravolo] So now we're checking
all shootings that may have coincided
with these dates and times.
We find two that match with the shootings
he's claiming responsibility for.
Orozco worked in a restaurant
in Manhattan.
He had a disability
where he walked with a limp.
And he got shot in the back.
[gun fires]
He told us the shooter wore a mask.
And after he was down,
the shooter stood over him
and put the gun to his head.
[tense music swells]
But didn't fire.
[tense music continues]
Montenegro was very drunk.
And he was an easy target.
Might have been down and out for the count
before he was assaulted.
- [music swells]
- [gun fires]
[Ciravolo] Again, couldn't provide
a description.
This guy's a serial shooter.
And he thinks he killed 'em,
but all three survived.
We then realized his drawings
on the pie slice
coincides with
the three correct astrological signs
of the first three victims.
[eerie music playing]
[Ciravolo] Orozco, Montenegro, Proce.
He had the Taurus, he had the Scorpio,
and he had the Gemini.
He was three for three.
Now, I'm thinking there's 12 signs.
He's got a game plan,
and his intent is to carry it out.
How do we get this guy
before there are more?
Again, that note is brought down
to the lab
to try to get latent fingerprints off it.
Were there prints on this?
Answer? No.
So he probably wore gloves.
[phone rings]
[Ciravolo] At that point, I got a call
from the detectives in San Francisco,
and they let us know, "This is a copycat."
"This is not our Zodiac."
The handwriting didn't match up at all.
This didn't help us one bit.
[subway train rattling on tracks]
He writes about Orion, the Seven Sisters,
the belts in the heaven.
So it was an aspect of this investigation
that required some thought
outside the proverbial box.
[tense music playing]
- [assistant] ABC mark.
- [music fades]
[man] People called us things.
They called us the Devil Desk.
They called it the Voodoo Team.
[woman] Sorry. We have to just turn
the air-conditioning off.
[Ciravolo] So, Larry was part of that team
who was looking into
astrology, astronomy, witchcraft.
Okay? Good.
All the offbeat stuff, y'know.
[interviewer] Thanks for sending us
your pictures from when you were younger.
Oh yeah. A lot younger. [chuckles]
[gentle music playing]
[Milanesi] I grew up in Brooklyn.
Oh, there was some in the school
that their relatives
were mobbed-up people.
And they bragged about it.
And it was something
that always turned me off.
I mean, my family,
you stayed within the law.
That's why when I went into
the police department, eventually,
I went into
the Organized Crime Control Bureau.
But having an Italian last name
kinda branded you.
Like, "We got enough of them
on the other side."
"We don't need them
on this side of the desk."
But then, there were other people
who used it as a crutch to cry about.
"Oh yeah.
Because I'm Italian, I didn't get that."
No, that's not the case.
"You didn't get it because you're
not good enough." [chuckles]
[somber piano music playing]
[Milanesi] When I was called in,
there were three of us
in the Major Case Squad who had worked
in the Intelligence Division previously.
And this was totally
out of the realm of that.
We had three shootings,
and these notes came in.
They were very detailed,
with times and dates and zodiac signs.
We created a chart
with the dates of the shootings.
We had March 8th.
March 29th.
And May 31st.
What we could see was a 21-day cycle
being followed here.
We found out that the Parks Department
had a very prestigious astronomer.
[ethereal music playing]
[Milanesi] He laid it out.
We found out that on March 8th,
three specific constellations
were visible at the time of the shooting.
Seven Sisters,
and Orion.
March 29th. All three were visible
at the time of the shooting.
The next two 21-day periods, the stars
were not in the sky at the same time.
No shootings.
On May 31st, the third shooting.
At 2:04 a.m., all the stars were
in the sky.
So we asked him,
"Give us the next 21 days."
"Let's just see what's goin' on."
June 21st. All three will be visible.
All the arrows were pointing
towards June 21st,
between 1:00 and 4:00 in the morning.
It's never been done before.
Where you were able to actually predict
when a shooting was gonna take place
within a couple of hours.
[tense music playing]
[Milanesi] And we explained it
to the chief. Chief Borrelli.
He thought we were nuts.
He said, "No one can predict
when a shooting's gonna take place."
So he said, "Do you really believe that?"
[scoffs] We told him,
"Well, we don't have to believe it."
"The person who's doing it believes it."
[Ciravolo] When Larry said,
"He's gonna shoot again, Chief,"
Chief Borrelli looked at me.
He says, "I'm gonna give you
all the resources you need."
I got on the phone to the New York Post.
And I said, "Please do not put this out."
"When we get this guy,
I'm gonna give you an exclusive."
But next morning,
front page, New York Post.
The new note and everything.
They gotta sell papers,
but it did make our job a lot harder.
Now they'd publicized the actual note,
we had nothing to keep close to the vest.
[reporter] Somewhere in New York City
is a killer who calls himself Zodiac,
choosing victims
by their astrological signs.
If any individual approaches them
in any fashion,
um, and the subject gets around
to the date of birth,
to be extremely careful.
And we would like to know about
any incident like that that's happened.
[unsettling music playing]
[wind whistling]
So, on June 21st,
Operation Watchdog was put into effect.
And we'd put together an all-star team.
The best detectives from the best squads.
[rock music playing]
[Ciravolo] And so, this one guy came in.
And I looked at him because he didn't look
like, uh, your conventional detective.
Louie Savarese looked like
a Hells Angel guy
instead of an NYPD homicide detective.
This is ABC mark. Louie, take one. Mark.
[rock music fades]
Well, got my friends' names on here.
My friend Buckets. He's dead.
Brian. He got killed on 9/11.
On my back,
I have, uh, faces of, uh, serial killers.
I got Manson, Charlie Manson. Berkowitz.
Got John Wayne Gacy, the clown.
And the theme was "evil that men do."
Without police, you have anarchy.
Are you kiddin' me?
I mean, you're fightin' bad guys, y'know?
Part of my life, y'know?
So that's why I did it, y'know.
A part of my life.
[tense music playing]
[reporter 1] Tonight investigators
from the Zodiac task force
will be at the phones
in their command post
and on the streets
throughout the city in force.
[reporter 2] Tonight falls
within his 21-day cycle of violence.
[Savarese] That night, they put
people together from individual precincts,
and we hunted the streets.
But now you've gotta say, it's
"We canvassed the streets." You know? So
But we were huntin'.
I was huntin'. Y'know?
[Ciravolo] We hoped
to be able to scoop him up
before someone else was shot.
That would've been
the perfect, perfect scenario.
[Savarese] One guy walkin' the street,
"I'd like to speak."
"What's up?" Ba-ba-boom.
Who we lookin' for? Nobody knows.
It could be a Black guy,
a white guy, a a Spanish guy.
We tossed, questioned,
and frisked everybody who moved.
[siren wailing]
[Ciravolo] And we did that
hundreds of times that night.
Now they would consider it
a gross violation of civil rights.
Back then, it was a little faster.
It was a little looser.
[Savarese] Lookin' to get this trash
off the street,
you gotta be what you gotta be
when life is on the line.
And that's the way it was.
[subway train rattling on tracks]
Well, the time came and left,
and there were no shootings.
[dog barking]
[Ciravolo] The streets were empty,
so they called it off by four o'clock.
And we head over,
back to the 102 Precinct.
Nothin' happened.
Nothing happened.
We were wrong. And they put
all that money and time into it.
We were in for a world of hurtin'
outta that.
[Ciravolo] Nothing left to do
but go back to the barn,
sign the overtime slips.
It was frustrating.
It was very frustrating.
[phone ringing]
[Ciravolo] Then I get a phone call
from a detective.
"Central Park Precinct's
on the phone for you."
He said, "You didn't get anybody
up in, uh, Queens
and Brooklyn tonight, did you?"
I said, "No." He says, "You know why?"
"Because he just shot somebody
in Central Park."
"Son of a bitch!"
And it was like getting punched
in the stomach.
Punched in the solar plexus. Like
[Milanesi] Borrelli gives us a wave.
"Here's my guys. These guys are the ones.
They told us when it was gonna happen."
It felt really good.
Not that somebody got shot,
but the fact that we knew we were right.
Then he says, "Look, guys, next time,
you gotta get me the location." [chuckles]
[tense music playing]
[reporter] A bench
south of the Central Park Bandshell,
site of the fourth,
and most recent, of the shootings
the so-called Zodiac Killer
has taken credit for.
[Ciravolo] Larry Parham,
the latest victim,
was an African-American homeless man,
sleeping on a park bench.
We're told, so far, he's alive.
The round passed right through him.
One shot. Body shot.
It went through Parham's sternum,
and they recovered the bullet
out of the, uh, park bench.
[Ciravolo] Larry Parham could provide
no description of the shooter
because he was asleep when he got shot.
But the real find
at this crime scene was the note.
[unsettling music playing]
He had his circle and crosshairs
on the top,
and he's got a fourth pie slice
in there, which is Cancer.
We checked out Larry Parham's
date of birth.
And again,
he was right because Larry Parham was,
in fact, a Cancer.
We still didn't know how the shooter knew
the astrological sign of his victims.
That was baffling.
So now, four victims.
He's four for four.
There's eight more people
until he fills in the pie chart.
He's tryin' to throw
all this bullshit at us.
Latin, constellations.
And he's just gonna go out
and shoot somebody else.
This guy's serious.
He's as serious as a heart attack.
[wind whistling]
[train rattling on tracks]
[reporter 1] Tonight,
the so-called Zodiac gunman
is one step closer
to fulfilling his deadly promise.
One of his victims has died.
[reporter 2] 78-year-old Joseph Proce
died this morning
at Jamaica Hospital in Queens.
Now the manhunt
has turned into a homicide investigation.
[Ciravolo] The Zodiac Shooter
was now the Zodiac Killer.
That amped up the intensity.
The public was even more nervous.
Nobody wanted to become the next victim.
[subway train rattling on tracks]
[tense music playing]
[rattling fades]
[unsettling, rhythmic music playing]
[Ciravolo] Chief Borrelli
put a task force together
on a permanent basis.
This was the main office
in which 50 detectives worked.
[phone ringing]
[Ciravolo] It was like the line
from the movie.
"You're gonna need a bigger boat."
And that's what Chief Borrelli gave us.
It was a beehive of activity back then.
- [phones ringing]
- [indistinct chatter]
[Ciravolo] Guys were calling it
the War Room
because we had the maps
and we had the blackboard.
It was like a telethon.
"Zodiac task force. How can I help you?"
My job was
to coordinate the investigation.
"You guys go to Brooklyn
and check this out."
"You guys go up to the Bronx
and talk to this woman."
We went to all parts of the five boroughs.
There was a lot of pressure on us
because the press was all over it.
People in the city of New York
were scared shitless.
We don't go to the park anymore.
We don't even be
on Jamaica Avenue, near the park.
[woman on TV] If he can outsmart police,
he can outsmart his victims.
This cycle can go on for a long time.
[Ciravolo] After the first cycle,
21 days after Parham,
he's gonna shoot again.
Well, we've gotta be ready.
[tense music playing]
This guy is writing crazy stuff
in his notes.
And so far, he was eluding us.
So Larry started looking into witchcraft
and looking into black magic
to see if it could help catch this guy
before he kills all 12.
He signs this one "Faust."
Faust was a 16th-century magician,
and he sold his soul
to the devil for knowledge.
The upside-down cross
with the 666, it's all satanic.
So I went and met with the Warlock.
[ominous music playing]
[Milanesi] Herman Slater was well-known
in the occult community.
A warlock is a male witch.
Well, let me introduce you
to Herman. [chuckles]
The store had ceremonial robes,
sacrificial daggers, candles, and books.
He told us, "You have to get
The Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley."
That this was followers of Crowley
that were doing the shootings.
Aleister Crowley was an English witch.
He died in 1947,
and he has followers all over the world.
And Slater says,
"I don't carry that stuff."
"I don't touch his his works."
Then he said, "If you even say their name,
if they know that you know their name,
they will kill you."
Excuse me.
Uh, there are other groups
that are very dangerous.
[echoing] They're into drugs.
They're into ritual murder.
[Milanesi] That's when I started
gettin' freaked out.
Because we knew we were dealing with
some very strange people at that point.
I knew a couple of other occult stores
in the area.
Nobody had the book.
I went up to the Central Research Library
on 5th Avenue.
Got the book.
Went, sat down.
[eerie music playing]
And the book opened automatically.
There was a note inside.
"White devil" and a lightning bolt.
In that moment, I was afraid.
[chuckling] I took my gun,
loosened it up in my belt.
A lot of it has to do
with takin' slaves for the afterlife.
It says, "Strike down the wretched
and the weak."
"Strike hard, strike low."
In the Zodiac case, no one was
shot in the head or above the shoulder.
"The sacrifice is greatest
when it's known by many
but understood by only the chosen few."
[unsettling vocals playing]
Larry worked his ass off
to see if it could help
in some way, shape, or form.
[interviewer] Just how did Larry's
research help the investigation?
It gave us a little bit more insight
as to who we were dealing with.
Like, we were trying everything, y'know?
[somber piano music playing]
[Milanesi] My wife noticed a difference
in my appearance.
My skin was getting,
like, ashened in color a bit.
I got to the point
where I wouldn't go home directly.
I would get off the parkway,
maybe an exit or two early,
circle the block a few times,
just to make sure I wasn't being followed.
I never did that when I worked on the Mob.
They were violent people
and everything else,
but, yeah, you knew
what you were dealing with.
This, here, you didn't know.
The occult things,
that kinda stuck with you a bit.
[tense music playing]
Then suddenly, we get a break.
I got a call from the lab.
We've got fingerprint evidence
from the Larry Parham letter.
Somewhere on the side, there was an index
with 15 points of identification on it.
But we didn't have
computers in these days.
So we just couldn't, y'know,
look through a database
to see if anything coincided.
And I always said,
he's gonna jump over a turnstile.
He's gonna be a fare-beater.
Cop'll grab him.
He's gonna get fingerprinted,
and bang, we have a match.
We'll get him on some fluke like that.
But until you get the right guy,
match it, you don't have shit.
Every detective wanted
to catch the Zodiac Killer.
Every man in that task force
was living, breathing.
But we're basically spinning our wheels.
[subway train rattling on tracks]
[reporter] He brings a new danger
to New York City's nights.
This Zodiac, who comes out
after dark in 21-day cycles.
[tense, rhythmic music playing]
[Ciravolo] So once again,
we put a lot of detectives on the street,
hunting for this guy.
After Parham, now,
we have to expand the zone.
We're spreading a little bit thinner
because we have to cover more area.
We had to be concerned with Manhattan,
the millions of citizens.
The sun came up.
Past the window of opportunity.
He didn't shoot anybody.
[music fades]
Nothing happened. Negative results.
- [train rattling on tracks]
- [ominous music playing]
During the Zodiac case,
I probably did two packs a day.
I didn't want to go on vacation
with my family
because I didn't want to miss a day
tryin' to track this guy down.
Y'know, I think any cop regrets
not spending more time with his
his family.
[clicks tongue] But, um,
we're doing what we love to do.
[tense music playing]
[Ciravolo] Well, every 21 days,
communications would put out
to all the sector cars,
"Everyone on patrol,
Operation Watchdog is in effect."
I think there was a total of three
or four more Operation Watchdogs.
There was no action.
He was no longer the hunter.
He was the hunted.
He crawled under the rock
from whence he came, and he stayed there.
[reporter] Another Thursday morning
has passed, and the Zodiac has not hit.
So the speculation grows
as to if he ever will.
It had been three months with no activity.
And we never matched anyone
to the Zodiac prints
on the Larry Parham letter.
[Savarese] This guy disappeared.
Where is he? Is he dead? We don't know.
And really, that's
that pissed me off. Y'know?
But people got away.
People get away with murder.
[Ciravolo] The task force was disbanded
at the end of November of 1990.
Navy Yard was cleaned out, and everybody
went back to their respective commands.
We just didn't catch the right break.
[Milanesi] Well, it was frustrating.
Yeah. Yeah.
More so than any other case.
It was shortly after that that I retired.
I decided it was my time to go.
[Ciravolo] Was it a failure?
Hell yeah. It was a failure.
'92, I retired from the NYPD.
But I left with unfinished business,
I always felt, in the pit of my stomach.
I was devastated at the end of the day
that we didn't we didn't have him.
[tense music playing]
On August 3, 1994, I was a sergeant
in the Seven-Five detective squad
in East New York, Brooklyn.
The NYPD deputy commissioner contacted me,
and they said, "Listen,
the New York Post received a letter
from somebody identifying himself
as the Zodiac."
"He's claiming that he shot people
in your precinct, in your command."
"Sleep, my little dead.
How we loathe them."
[wind whistling]
[assistant] We got 101, take one. Mark.
My nickname is Pork Chop,
and I got it because, uh, I like to eat.
Uh, you know.
That's the only reason. [chuckles]
[gentle music playing]
I was the, uh, fifth child in my family.
My oldest brother, John,
was a New York City homicide detective.
I always looked up to him.
I wanted to be a detective too.
Not just a cop but a detective.
I have the fever, crime fever.
Although I wasn't involved
in the Zodiac case
during his first series of events,
I followed it closely in the media.
I got excited because I never thought
I would get to try and solve it.
[reporter] It's been more than four years
since the New York murderer
who killed by the stars
was last heard from.
Now a newspaper has received
a chilling letter
from a person
claiming to be the Zodiac Killer.
Has the Zodiac attacker returned?
[clock ticking]
[Herbert] On the right,
he listed five incidents of violence.
So the first thing that I do,
I started to research the crimes
that he was taking credit for.
First one is from August 10, 1992.
Female, white, stabbed and shot
in Highland Park.
That was Patricia Fonti.
She was stabbed over 100 times.
And we found no indication that
she was shot, but she could have been.
There were so many marks on her body.
Jim Weber.
The Zodiac shot him, then hopped the fence
and fled into a nearby cemetery.
And he survived.
Joseph Diacone was a homeless individual.
He was shot in the back of the neck
and bled out instantly.
Diane Ballard was shot one time
in the neck.
And she survived.
There was a fifth victim, June 11, 1994.
We did a very thorough search of the park.
- Cadaver dogs, helicopters.
- [helicopter blades whirring]
[Herbert] We could not locate that victim.
Two of them were homicides.
Two were nonfatal.
The NYPD was not able to connect
the second series of attacks
to the first series
because there was over 2,300 homicides
a year in the city in those years,
and thousands and thousands
of nonfatal shootings.
So nine victims, Zodiac,
and zero next to the NYPD.
He's taunting the police.
Through lookin' at the evidence,
the handwriting, the victims,
we knew we were dealin' with
the same killer that had impacted
New York City two years prior.
But his MO had changed.
He got away from the pie signs
with the zodiac symbols.
We didn't know
why he stopped takin' credit
for birth signs on his victims.
The flags threw me off a little bit.
But military people, Navy people,
recognized these flags
to be maritime flags.
And they were able
to break the code fairly quickly.
When it's decoded, it says,
"This is the Zodiac speaking.
I am in control."
"There will be more. Yours truly."
[tense music playing]
[Herbert] So, the NYPD
formed a second task force.
I was one of the supervisors.
And there were some detectives
that worked on the first task force,
including Louie Savarese.
He's thin now compared to what he was,
and I still call him Pork Chop.
So [laughs]
[takes a deep breath] Ah.
Second task force,
we had the fingerprint from Parham.
We had the bullets. We had evidence.
But we still didn't have a face.
We didn't have a a a body.
We didn't have the computer technology
at the time that we have now.
There was no databases
for us to get a match.
The earlier assaults and murders occurred
in, like, a five-square block area.
I refer to it as his first comfort zone.
Then he had an event in Central Park,
where Larry Parham was shot.
[projector clicks]
[Herbert] And his second comfort zone
is all in Highland Park.
So we devised a plan to go a mile
each way, east, west, north, and south,
in the center of the two comfort zones.
And we ran every address
for criminal histories
of people who reside in those addresses.
We came up with a number of 4,500.
So we went up to the Latent Print Unit,
and we told 'em,
"We're requesting manual examination
of these 4,500 fingerprints
to that one partial fingerprint
from the Larry Parham letter."
They agreed to do it,
but it was gonna take a long time.
It was a lot of work, a lot of long hours.
We truly believed
that the fingerprint evidence
would identify Zodiac and capture him.
[tense music playing]
[Herbert] In my heart of hearts,
I felt they were going to get a match.
When I went to bed, I put the, uh, beeper
on my pajamas on vibrate mode.
'Cause I don't wanna wake my wife
in the middle of the night.
I knew it was gonna go off.
[tense music building]
[light clicks]
- [Herbert] But it never went off.
- [music fades]
[subway train rattling on tracks]
[Herbert] I was always disappointed
we were unable to match anybody
to that fingerprint from the letter.
But you deal with it.
You have to live with it. And so
We continued workin' other leads
and workin' the case, you know?
But it was always in the back of my mind.
Fortunately, we didn't get
any fresh bodies or fresh shootings.
But it was now a cold case
that that we were working.
[indistinct chatter]
[Herbert] After nine months,
he was basically like a ghost in the city.
And we had no clue who he was.
We had no idea who he was.
[Savarese] Just like, uh, déjà vu.
The second task force is, well, over.
It's windin' down.
No body.
No perpetrator.
That bothered me.
That bothered me a lot. Y'know?
I gave it the best I had, y'know?
That's what they were payin' me for.
If I can't get ya, good luck.
[somber music playing]
[Herbert] I went back
to the Seven-Five squad.
An opportunity came
to become a hostage negotiator.
And I took the course.
But I knew in my heart
that the Zodiac would come back
and that he would
shoot again and kill again.
It's in his blood. It's the way he is.
[ominous music playing]
[tense music playing]
[Herbert] It was June 18, 1996.
There was a hostage job
in the Seven-Five Precinct.
I was nervous because this was
my first hostage negotiation job.
An individual had shot his sister
and is holding her boyfriend hostage.
They told me his name was Eddie.
[echoing] I'm sayin',
"Eddie, we don't want you getting hurt."
"None of us wanna get hurt.
Enough blood has been shed."
[echoing] Enough blood's been shed.
And this went on for at least an hour,
an hour and a half.
Finally, he says,
"I'm ready to surrender."
[music fades]
- [indistinct radio chatter]
- [energetic music playing]
[Herbert] I was proud as a peacock,
because the bosses,
they were pattin' me on the back.
"Good job," all that stuff.
So I was very satisfied
that I didn't blow it
because they don't always go good.
So now, they take him back
to the station house.
And I went back to the scene.
The bomb squad had removed
two pipe bombs, fully constructed,
that he had in the apartment.
I'm at the scene,
I'm talkin' to the bomb squad guys,
and three detectives came
right to the corner here,
and they hand me the confession.
Eddie confessed to shooting his sister,
to holding her boyfriend hostage.
So, I'm reading it.
And I'm I'm readin'.
[wings flapping]
[Herbert] I actually had
a physical reaction.
And it was kinda like my blood pressure
went down like 40, 50 points.
The first thing I did,
I called Louie Savarese.
I said, "Louie, get in here. We got him."
Pork Chop says,
"It looks like my wife's shoppin' list."
That's how familiar the lettering was.
[Herbert] The S's, the T's, and the M's.
You know, I knew the handwriting
from all the letters that I'd studied
for the last two years
workin' the Zodiac case.
[Savarese] I was shocked when I seen him
in the interview room.
It was a kid.
Y'know, I didn't expect him
to be that, y'know?
[Herbert] His name was actually Heriberto.
Eddie was a nickname.
Heriberto Seda.
[Savarese] First thing I said to him
"You're the Zodiac, and I've been lookin'
for you for six years."
He said, "I'm not the Zodiac."
All he wanted to talk about was his Bible.
Evil and good.
We laid out the fingerprints.
We laid out the handwriting analysis.
Again, "No, no."
So, uh, we get to Fonti's pictures.
That was the gruesomest scene we had.
And we put 'em on the wall.
Now he's lookin'.
It's right in front of him.
And his eyes are goin' back and forth.
And we're talkin' to him.
Y'know, "Look what you did."
Then I see the vein in his neck,
and, boom, pounding.
[thumping echoes]
[Savarese] And at that point there,
he gave it up.
He says, "Okay.
I'll tell youse what happened."
And he starts off with Patricia Fonti.
[Savarese] And he confessed in order.
Mario, German, Proce,
Parham, Diacone, Weber, Ballard.
Number nine, we never found.
And then, when you hit the space bar,
it'll start.
- Okay.
- [key clicks]
[reporter] After going over evidence,
the jury decided
this man is indeed the Zodiac Killer
that terrorized the city
from 1990 to 1994.
[Herbert] It was a very big moment for me,
a very proud moment.
And I was very proud
to have Louie walkin' next to me.
[man] Are you the Zodiac?
[Savarese] I'm a little embarrassed
at that stuff sometimes.
[chuckles] Like I'm a big oak,
y'know what I mean? I don't know.
I thank God
I was fortunate to be part of it
from the beginning to the end, y'know?
[Ciravolo] They got him.
I'd be lying if I told you
I didn't long to be part of it.
To be at the scene.
He was a punk from start to finish.
He was just a punk.
[tense music playing]
[Milanesi] We never found out how he got
the signs of the people he shot.
We played every angle, and there was no
no rhyme or reason for it.
God knows how he found out.
I had room on my arm here. [laughs]
That's the symbol
that the Zodiac in California used.
Eddie Seda was a copycat. Y'know?
And part of my life.
[somber music playing]
It easily could've been
another hostage negotiator.
It was almost like fate
that it all came together in that way.
Was it written in the stars?
I don't know. Y'know?
But I believe in God.
There's a heaven and a hell. So
He's in jail.
That's the way I look at it.
[closing theme music playing]
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