| SAN FRANCISCO -- A woman stepped forward Wednesday to claim her late father was the infamous Zodiac Killer and that she as a 7-year-old wrote some of the letters that taunted local police. |
Kevin McLean, the former law partner of the late Melvin Belli, said he has led a two-year investigation into claims by Deborah Perez that her father, Guy Ward Hendrickson, was the Zodiac killer. Hendrickson, who lived in Orange County, died in 1993 of cancer.
“He was a Jekyll and Hyde,” McLean said of Hendrickson. “He was nuts. He set out to kill people. Some of these killings were not random.”
As a youngster, Perez said she sometimes accompanied her father on his killing sprees to the Bay Area. The family lived in Santa Ana, but McLean said Hendrickson may have worked at one time at the Mare Island Naval shipyard in Vallejo.
“There were strange events with my father,” she said. “I would hear shots and my father would say it was firecrackers. I would see a woman running and then hear shots and he would tell me someone threw firecrackers at her.”
Perez said that she wrote and stamped the letters to the San Francisco Chronicle following the murder of San Francisco cab driver Paul Stine in October 1969. Those letters have been in the possession of the San Francisco police since 1969.
She also claimed to be with her father when killed Darlene Ferrin, 22, at the Blue Springs Golf Club in July 1969 and wounded her companion, Michael Mageau, 19.
“He had a vicious argument with Dee that night,” she said. “My father grabbed his gun. He goes up to the passenger side. I heard shots. I heard screams and moans. Five minutes later, we were pulled over by the police. He hid the gun on me.”
Perez said her father apologized for “doing bad things” on his death bed, but she didn’t know that involved the Zodiac killings.
The findings of McLean’s investigation have now been forwarded to the FBI and he has also asked local police for help in verifying Perez’s claims. She claims she still has Stine’s glasses.
Perez also said she helped make the mask her father wore during some of the slayings and added she had – as a child – seen a scrapbook that would indicate her father may killed “30-40” people.
“Everyone is going to say she is crazy, but we had psychologists examine Ms. Perez,” McLean said.
The Zodiac killer -- he gave himself that moniker in his taunting letters to police and newspapers -- is blamed for at least seven murders in 1968 and 1969.
He was never caught though many believe he was Arthur Leigh Allen, a convicted child molester from Vallejo who died in 1992.
In September 1969, the Zodiac struck in Napa County, stabbing two 20-year-old college students picnicking at Lake Berryessa. The crime scene was a small peninsula jutting out into the lake. The couple was accosted, hog-tied and repeatedly stabbed by a man dressed all in black and wearing an executioner-type hood.
Cecelia Shepard died; Bryan Hartnell survived and is now a lawyer in Southern California.
Three killings then took place in the Vallejo area. David Farraday and Betty Lou Jensen, teenagers on their first date, were shot to death in December 1968. Ferrin, 22, was shot and killed seven months later at the Blue Springs Golf Club, while her companion, Michael Mageau, 19, survived.
His final Bay Are slaying may have occurred on October 11, 1969, when a man entered Stine's cab at the intersection of Mason and Geary Streets in San Francisco and requested to be taken to Washington and Maple Streets in Presidio Heights.
One block later, the passenger shot Stine once in the head with a 9 mm, took his wallet and car keys, and then tore off his shirt tail. On October 14, the San Francisco Chronicle received a letter from the Zodiac containing a swatch of Stine's shirt tail as proof he was the killer.
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