Paul Stine

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(Paul Lee Stine, early 1960s)

Killed: Oct. 11, 1969 (Saturday)

Case number: 696314

Time of attack: Approximately 9:55 p.m.

Place of attack: The northeast corner of Washington and Cherry Streets in the Presidio Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif.

Method of attack: Cab driver Paul Stine, age 29, was shot once in the head at point-blank range. The weapon was a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, not the same 9mm used in the Ferrin murder. There were three witnesses from a house on the southeast corner of the intersection.

Details: Stine’s cab was hailed at Mason and Geary Streets, with the intended destination being Washington and Maple Streets near the Presidio. For reasons unknown, the cab ended up at Washington and Cherry Streets, a block away from the original destination. Stine’s wallet and keys were taken and a large portion of his shirt was carefully torn off. Bloody fingerprints, potentially of the suspect, were recovered from the vehicle. According to a police document, a pair of men’s Size Seven black-leather gloves was also found. The three witnesses watched the suspect from approximately 60 feet away as he wiped down the cab with a cloth after killing Stine. They called the police and described a white male, 25 to 30 years old, 5’8″ to 5’9″, stocky build, reddish-brown hair worn in a crew cut, heavy-rimmed glasses and dark clothing. They last saw him casually walking north on Cherry Street. Unfortunately, the police dispatcher mistakingly described the suspect as being a black male adult. As a result, when patrol officers Donald Fouke and Eric Zelms minutes later observed a white man walking east on Jackson Street, he was never stopped and questioned. The officers did get a good look at him, however. When the correct description of the suspect was finally broadcast, the officers realized they might have encountered him. A search of the area where the man had been observed was conducted, to no avail. The man seen by Fouke and Zelms was very similar to the suspect observed by the three witnesses. He was white, 35 to 45 years old, 5’10”, between 180 and 200 pounds, barrel chested, with light-colored, crewcut hair and wearing glasses. The man didn’t appear to be carrying anything and no conversation between the man and the officers took place. The Stine murder was initially thought to be a routine cabbie-killing, a robbery gone bad. However, on Oct. 13, 1969, the San Francisco Chronicle received a letter from Zodiac containing a portion of bloody shirt and taking credit for the killing. SFPD Inspectors Dave Toschi and Bill Armstrong, who were assigned the case, were shocked to realize the shirt belonged to Stine. Still later, Zodiac would claim he actually spoke with the patrolmen the night of the murder, leading them astray. The three witnesses, though hampered by poor lighting conditions and fog during their observation of the crime, worked with a police composite artist to put a face on Zodiac. A few days after the sketch was circulated throughout the Bay Area in the form of a wanted poster, the witnesses requested the sketch be altered to make it more accurate. Thus another version was made. More than a month after Stine’s murder, Officer Fouke finally came forward about his possible encounter with the killer.

Conclusion: In early 2004, the decision was made to close the case, much to the outrage of one recently-retired detective.

Also see: MESSAGE BOARD | Presidio Heights 2004 | Zodiac’s Escape Route?