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Observations on the new Zodiac Killer suspect
Michael N. Wakshull --Forensic Document Examiner Michael N. Wakshull --Forensic Document Examiner
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Temecula, CA
Friday, October 8, 2021


A group called Case Breakers claimed to have new evidence identifying Gary Poste as the Zodiac Killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1960s. In this interview with CNN, https://youtu.be/EKncdXxw2OU, Mike Wakshull describes the quality of the forensic evidence offered in the press release distributed by the group.

Forensic evidence presented

The evidence presented by the group linking the suspect to the murder of Cheri Jo Bates in Riverside, CA in 1966 is weak. An example given is a Timex watch with paint splatters was found near the crime scene. The suspect was a house painter. This is circumstantial evidence. The link between the suspect and the Zodiac is one misspelled word (twich) that appears in a Zodiac card and in a writing by the suspect. A better comparison would be to obtain examples of the suspect’s handwriting to compare with the many letters sent to newspapers and police by the Zodiac.

A scar on the forehead of the suspect is an alleged link between the suspect and the Zodiac. The press release alleges there is a scar on the forehead of the Zodiac in the police sketch and described by witness of the Zodiac killings. As I was unaware of any other mention of a scar on the Zodiac’s forehead, I typed “scar on the Zodiac Killer’s forehead” and other variants into Google. The only references discovered were to the Case Breakers. The alleged scar is wrinkles on the forehead. See the attached images.
The press release posts photos of Mr. Poste from 1963 through 2018. Using Photoshop, I overlayed the police sketch of the Zodiac onto the 1963 and 2007 photos to learn how well they comport. When the nose is aligned, the remainder of the face does not align. Also, the police sketch of the Zodiac includes eyeglasses. Mr. Poste is not wearing eyeglasses in any photos.

Missing evidence

The Case Breakers did not compare handwriting of their suspect with the many known handwritten letters sent by the Zodiac to the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle. This would be valuable information.

The evidence presented by the Case Breakers is weak and circumstantial. The evidence in their press release fails.

About the Author: Michael Wakshull, president of Q9 Consulting, is a civil and criminal court-qualified forensic document examiner providing services throughout the U.S.A. and internationally. Cases include authentication of handwritten and computer-generated documents. Wakshull holds a Master of Science in technology management, a graduate school certificate in forensic document examination and has spoken at international forensics conferences including the World Congress of Forensics in China. He authors and presents document examination courses for minimum continuing legal education (MCLE). Wakshull is a member of the vice president of Scientific Association of Forensic Examiners, National Association of Document Examiners, past president of the San Diego Chapter of Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA), ASTM International, and a senior member of the American Society for Quality.

Mike has authored three books on the topic of forensic document examination. 

As a National Speakers Association member, he is available to speak on these subjects.

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News Media Interview Contact
Name: Michael N. Wakshull
Title: Forensic Document Examiner
Group: Q9 Consutling, Inc.
Dateline: Temecula, CA United States
Direct Phone: 1-951-252-4929
Cell Phone: 805-501-3388
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