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 William Mentzer

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Azazel
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PostSubject: William Mentzer   Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:53 pm

THIS MAN COULD BE FRISCO'S FIENDISH ZODIAC KILLER

September 29, 2003 -- The notorious San Francisco Zodiac Killer, who mysteriously dropped out of sight almost 30 years ago after a bloody reign of terror that left five dead, may have been "hiding" in plain sight - locked away in prison for two unrelated murders.

A Post investigation unearthed "compelling" links between 54-year-old killer William Mentzer - who's serving life without the possibility of parole - and the police profile of the Zodiac Killer, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office says.

The dramatic new information has been turned over to the San Francisco Police Department, which for 35 years has searched for the fiendish killer.

"There appear to be some compelling parallels here," said Mark MacNamara, the public-information officer for the San Francisco DA. "We have given the information to the police inspectors for their review."

The Post developed the information after more than 20 hours of interviews with Mentzer at the California state prison in Lancaster.

The Post discovered two dozen links between Mentzer, who is from Los Angeles, and the Zodiac Killer.

For example:



* Investigators say the Zodiac had military training. Mentzer served in the Marines during the Vietnam War and claims 10 kills.

* The Zodiac's murders began in December 1968, shortly after Mentzer returned to California from Vietnam.

* In September 1969, the Zodiac stabbed two of his victims with a bayonet-like knife carried in a handmade sheath fastened with rivets. Mentzer said he had a job making rivets at an aerospace company around CB>the same time of the attack. He also said he carried a bayonet in Vietnam.

* The Zodiac wrote letters to the media taunting the police. Mentzer said, "It was fun to f- - - with them."

* In the letters, the Zodiac drew a diagram of a bomb and threatened to blow up a school bus. Mentzer, who once had a job driving a bus, told The Post he had military training in demolition and kept plastic explosives.

* A survivor of a Zodiac attack said the killer spoke in a slow, monotone with a slight drawl. Mentzer has the same speech pattern.

The Zodiac randomly killed five people and severely wounded two others during his spree, which began in the Bay Area in the late '60s, police said.

But in letters and cryptograms sent to the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, the Zodiac boasted that he had committed more than 30 other murders.

He congratulated police for uncovering a 1966 murder in Riverside, Calif., about 45 miles east of L.A. But the Zodiac ominously said, "There are a hell of a lot more down there."

He also threatened to "pick off" children as they came bounding out of their school bus.

The psychotic killer mysteriously dropped out of sight in 1974, after a final letter to the press.

Mentzer is serving a life sentence for the savage L.A. murders of New York theatrical producer Roy Radin in 1983 and of prostitute June Mincher in 1984.

Radin was shot more than 20 times in the head. Mentzer then put a small stick of dynamite in Radin's mouth, lit it and blew off his face.

When Mentzer was asked if he shot Mincher seven times in the head, he told The Post, "No, I think it was eight."

One week after the initial interviews, The Post confronted Mentzer with the information linking him to the Zodiac Killer.

"I am not the Zodiac," he fumed. "I am not some crazed killer, but I think I know who he is."

Mentzer said he met the Zodiac while they were incarcerated at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi in the early '90s. He described the Zodiac as a 240-pound black man. Police say the Zodiac is white.

After Mentzer was handed the Zodiac links, he began to read the document as his forearms pulsated. He spent about 15 minutes reviewing the information accusing him of being the Zodiac Killer, and made five minor corrections and one significant change.

Mentzer noted that in 1966, he was based at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif., which is near Riverside.

The Riverside killing mentioned in the Zodiac letter took place a few months before Mentzer left for Vietnam. There were no reported Zodiac murders until Mentzer returned to California about two years later.

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=11057&sid=bac17aa7f1852e33dc2c4f54959d7da4


Thought we could have a thread on this guy. And if someone finds any intresting pieces they can post it here.

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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Mon Sep 13, 2010 4:28 pm

Mentzer is interesting. Some called him "Manson II" and it is said he had some ties to Charles Manson. It is a fact he was connected to major drug dealers and also, apparently, people involved in occult networks.

You can read more about Mentzer and the Roy Radin hit he was convicted for in Maury Terry's Ultimate Evil.

That book also has information about the 10/12/74 murder at Stanford of Arlis Perry.

Interesting that he was stationed in Camp Pendleton, not too far from Riverside, in 1966. Then he is in Vietnam, but 3 months after he comes back to CA, we have the 12/20/68 Zodiac murder.

One thing against him is it appears that his known murders were for money - he was a hitman. However, that does not totally exclude the possibility of him doing a murder for a non money reason.

Another odd thing is that Hollywood movie producer Robert Evans was questioned in the Radin case. Evans produced classic movies like Chinatown and also Rosemary's Baby, directed by Roman Polanksi. Of course it was the Polanksi house that the Manson Family hit, and his wife, Sharon Tate, that they murdered.

I don't see Mentzer having the intelligence to be Zodiac, or the code knowledge. But he is a killer, had occult ties, and no doubt killed more people than what he was convicted for.

He also bragged about killing Radin and one other hit. Hard to see him as the secretive Zodiac.

He doesn't look much like the sketch but nothing to rule him out either. The picture of him in court below, he looks a little more like Zodiac sketch images.

He does have a "Z" in his last name.

He might merit further examination, because unlike many proposed "suspects" this guy was a cold blooded killer, can be placed in CA at the right times, had military and explosives training and ties to occult groups.




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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:58 pm

He was looked at briefly by SFPD after the post's article.

SFPD dismisses claims on Zodiac killer's ID

Alison Soltau
Examiner Staff
Wednesday, October 1, 2003

The identity of the notorious Zodiac killer remains as elusive as ever after the San Francisco Police Department dismissed evidence provided by a New York tabloid implicating a California prisoner.

The New York Post two months ago presented the San Francisco District Attorney's office with a dossier on William Mentzer, 54, a convicted murderer serving a stretch at a state prison in Lancaster.

The Zodiac has been a morbid fascination in the public's imagination since he killed five people and wounded two others around the Bay Area in the late 1960s.

The killer, who shot strangers in their cars and threatened to blow up children on a school bus, led police on a fruitless chase with a series of cryptic letters sent to San Francisco newspapers and phone calls to the department detailing his crimes.

Despite initial startling parallels between events in Mentzer's life and the serial killer's cold-blooded spree, homicide investigators said Monday that they had discarded physical evidence presented to them.

"It's a non starter," San Francisco Police Homicide Inspector Kelly Carroll said.

"There does not seem to be, on the face of it, any compelling evidence; the physical evidence has been discounted to this point in terms of making a connection," he added. "It appears not to support any reasonable suspicion of probable cause that the suspect is our Zodiac."

Carroll declined to elaborate on the nature of the physical evidence but said that the circumstantial evidence provided by The Post was no more compelling than the hundreds of dud leads offered to police throughout the past 35 years.

The Post claimed to have unearthed around 24 similarities between Mentzer and the presumed background of the Zodiac.

These included both sharing a military background and Mentzer living in California at the time of the killings.

In September 1969, the Zodiac stabbed two victims with a bayonet-like knife contained in a sheaf fastened with rivets, and the Post pointed out that Mentzer was making rivets at an aerospace company around the time of the attacks.

The Zodiac claimed responsibility for a 1966 Riverside killing and The Post points out that the killing took place before Mentzer left for Vietnam.

The Zodiac did not commit any further murders until Mentzer returned to California two years later.

In taunting letters to police at the time of the killings, the Zodiac threatened to blow up a school bus.

Mentzer had a job driving the bus and experience working with demolition and plastic explosives, The Post said.

According to the newspaper, a survivor of a Zodiac attack described his speech pattern as a "slow monotone with a slight drawl."

The newspaper claims Mentzer has a similar speech pattern.

Mentzer himself has remained an enigma, initially strenuously denying the charge, and pointing the newspaper to another potential suspect, then making corrections to a document drawing links between himself and California's famed killer.

But Carroll said that over the years police had received thousands of tip-offs of potential suspects with backgrounds in the military and training with explosives.

"Many of them were very unsavory characters capable of committing heinous crimes, but there's a big difference between a very bad guy and the actual bad guy that did those terrible crimes," he said.

Carroll added that many tips about possible suspects have included "interesting circumstances in their background, like a background in the military, familiarity with code breaking ... but they don't come close to reaching the level of probable cause."
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:02 pm

Another weirdo with Zynchronicity........

I believe it is standard operating procedure to, in the event of a very cold/cold case, to begin at the (sort of) beginning when it's been 30 + years (when Mentzner was first looked at as a possible POI or corroborating witness) without closure in respect to the Z crimes.

Always good to look back so you can see forwards, Az! What a Face
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:47 pm

He's got an interesting background, I'll give you that. But Kelly Carroll's statements imply to me that Mentzer was ruled out based on a comparison with the print evidence, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:49 pm

Kinda off the wall question: But how many posters think the Zodiac does have a Z in his name? Just curious...
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 12:38 am

The problem is we can't say for sure that SFPD has any actual Zodiac prints.

According to the SFPD, nobody is the Zodiac.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:52 am

Nobody they've investigated, more like.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:58 am

AK Wilks wrote:
The problem is we can't say for sure that SFPD has any actual Zodiac prints.

According to the SFPD, nobody is the Zodiac.

The SFPD spoke to the press a few days after the Post's article. I really doubt they would
do that unless they were 100% sure.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:47 am

Hi Zamantha....I think he very well might have, or someone who he "idolized" may have as well...

One of my issues with Mentzer is his age.....wouldn't he have been like 19 or 20 back in 1969?

In 2003, he was listed as being 54....so, if that is accurate, then he would be 61 now....so, born in 1949, so 20 at the oldest in 1969.

Also, he was a braggart, bragging about his "contract killings", so why would he have kept his mouth shut about being Z and all of the attention this case has gotten?
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:23 am

caresut wrote:
AK Wilks wrote:
The problem is we can't say for sure that SFPD has any actual Zodiac prints.

According to the SFPD, nobody is the Zodiac.

The SFPD spoke to the press a few days after the Post's article. I really doubt they would
do that unless they were 100% sure.

They did react very swiftly. Almost as if they resented that a newspaper was trying to solve the case.

The problem is - what does the SFPD use to eliminate suspects?

Fingerprints? No proof Z left prints in the cab or anywhere else. None of the various prints they have match each other. There may be no real Z prints on file.

Handwriting? More an art than a science. Look at any big case - Hitler diary, Jack the Ripper diary, any big court case involving writing - you will see noted experts on BOTH sides, some saying "fake" some saying "real". Even here in the Zodiac case, there are disputes and differences among police experts on which letters are real or fake. I think handwriting is important and valid - but since Z may have disguised his writing, I would hesitate to totally rule someone in or out on handwriting alone.

DNA? Nobody can say for sure if any of the small traces of DNA recovered from Z stamps and letters is really from him, and apparently none of it matches each other or anything else. It could be from Z - or not.

Sketches? The sketches in this case differ, Z may have used disguises and eyewitness descriptions are often wrong. The sketches tell us something - I think we can say Zodiac was a male, was white, probably European descent, probably between 5' 9" and 5' 11", 160 to 190 pounds, age between 25 and 40 give or take a few years.

I don't think Mentzer was the Zodiac. He did boast loudly about his contract killings, and his motive was money. Still, the timing, training, occult ties and other factors are interesting, and I question why he was ruled out so quickly. Certainly as a cold blooded killer who was in CA during the crimes, he makes a more interesting suspect than some others.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:42 pm

Let me reiterate. If the evidence is invalid, no suspect can be ruled in or out by ANY standard. We might as well give up and go home.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:57 pm

I agree. I think that they have valid Z fingerprints -- lots of them.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:03 pm

rand wrote:
I agree. I think that they have valid Z fingerprints -- lots of them.

None of the prints match each other.

There could be a real one in there. But I doubt it.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:47 pm

Nachtsider wrote:
Let me reiterate. If the evidence is invalid, no suspect can be ruled in or out by ANY standard. We might as well give up and go home.

It depends IMO.

For example, I have no problem personally considering Allen cleared. There was a lot of circumstantial and geographic evidence against him, but I am comfortable saying Allen was not the Zodiac. His known crimes were sexual but not violent, while Zodiac confirmed crimes were violent with little overt sex. Allen targeted children, Zodiac teens and adults. Add to that, Allen did not match fingerprints, DNA, handwriting or look like the sketch. And he passed two polygraphs, while his chief accuser Cheney had a motive to dislike Allen and his first polygraph was a non-pass inconclusive. Yet despite all that, some in the VPD still inisted Allen was a good suspect! SFPD apparently now considers him cleared and I agree.

The only thing about Mentzer is that it seems the SFPD dismissed him within days of being given the report by the newspaper, and we don't know what criteria they used to dismiss him. And Mentzer - unlike Allen, Marshall, Gaikowski, Mr. X - is a known and proven brutal killer with ties to drug and occult networks.

So I don't personally think Mentzer was Zodiac, but I question what led to the clearing in this case.

Ridgway was cleared by police of being the Green River Killer many years before DNA revealed that he was the GRK.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:55 pm

AK Wilks wrote:
rand wrote:
I agree. I think that they have valid Z fingerprints -- lots of them.

None of the prints match each other.

There could be a real one in there. But I doubt it.

Could you provide the evidence for this statement? I'd like to see it (I'm sure others would as well).
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:58 pm

It is in the FBI files, mentioned in the Graysmith book and confirmed to me via phone converstaion with a detective.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:30 am

I don't put much stock in anything Graysmith writes. I've read the FBI files, and it seems that they got lots of fingerprints from letters, phonebooths, etc. etc.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:48 am

rand wrote:
I don't put much stock in anything Graysmith writes. I've read the FBI files, and it seems that they got lots of fingerprints from letters, phonebooths, etc. etc.

Yes they did get fingerprints from the cab and a payphone, but those are things hundreds of people use in a week. There is no proof that Z left his prints anywhere, and in the FBI files, and confirmed to me by a detective, none of the prints - from the cab, phone, letters, Bates car, etc. - ever matched to each other or to any person.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:27 am

of course that doesn't mean that these are not Z's prints, LE simply does not know...



...same with these, found after this letter was dusted:

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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:38 am

Of course those prints have been entered into the FBI digitized system with more than 10,000,000 prints, and, no match.

Given the care and planning Z showed, I highly doubt he left prints in the cab or anywhere else.

And none of the possible Z prints match each other. Certainly if a print from a letter matched one on the payphone, that would be a big deal, you could say it was basically a confirmed Zodiac print. But none matched each other. So it is possible there is a real Z print somewhere - my best bet would be the Bates car, the first or one of the first Z crimes - but I think it unlikley.

Eventually LE had seemed to have little real confidence in the prints - Allen never matched any prints, but they still thought he was Z and got three search warrants against him.

When I have raised the issue about having the prints of my POI checked against the Bates and phone prints, the response has been non-commital and little enthusiasm, as if they don't put much stock in the prints to begin with.
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:43 am

AK Wilks wrote:
And none of the possible Z prints match each other.

I've been trying to find out if this is true for a while now. Do you have a source?

-tbz
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:07 am

AK, I would also love to see your source that tells me that the prints from the cab definitively do not match the prints left on any known Z correspondence...
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:20 pm

What about the issue of Mentzer's age that I brought up earlier??
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PostSubject: Re: William Mentzer   Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:29 pm

Let me be clear, I do NOT think Mentzer was the Zodiac. He bragged loudly about his murders, unlike the secretive Z. And Mentzer killed for money. I don't see anything to really consider Mentzer a major Z suspect, and SFPD says they cleared him. I personally think Ted Kaczynski was Z, now more than ever. New evidence coming in as we speak!

But I do keep an open mind regarding other suspects, and as some here are interested in Manson and occult angles, in my role as mod I often post things that may not interest me too much but others might want to read.

The age point is valid. 20 or 21 in 1969 seems IMO too young to be Z...probably. But just a few weeks ago several posters were saying MZ (Pacific High Z) should be considered a Z suspect and he was I think 22 in 1969. There are the Mageau, Johns and SF teen estimtes of Zodiac being 25 to 30. In 1969 Mentzer had already been to Vietnam, and that kind of experience can age someone, make them act and look older than they are. So he may well have looked 25 or so.

Mentzer also apparently had knowledge about the murder of Arlis Perry, a possible Zodiac crime. And appears Mentzer had some contact with the Son of Sam AND Charles Manson - if you believe Maury Terry.
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