If you are looking for an alternate suspect in a potential wrongful conviction, the first place you should start is the prosecution’s star witness. For example, the infamous case of Pam Hupp, who not only framed Russ Faria for a crime she committed herself, but tried it again, murdering an innocent man in the process.
This post is about a slightly different kind of false accusation, my premise is that the Zodiac Killer (Edward Wayne Edwards) was actively generating false leads, or accusations about the identity of the Zodiac Killer, and some of these falsely accused people are still considered by some to be suspects,
Donald Lee Bujok
This is a case when the evidence is very clear. Edward Wayne Edwards accused “Richard” at Deer Lodge prison of being the Zodiac, whose biographical details match Bujok : Bujok did murder a Sheriff’s Deputy, and also worked as a car mechanic at Deer Lodge. He also was a good resemblance to the drawing of the Zodiac made following the murder of Paul Lee Stine. See here for a transcript of the news report. Both Kay ( Edwards’ wife) and the journalist confirmed that he was the anonymous source, the “37-YEAR-OLD convict” from Akron who served time in Deer Lodge prison.
Edit: January 2023 – it turns out Bujok did indeed swallow bullets as Edwards mentioned! See here.
Edwards pretended to be retarded when talking to an 8-year-old boy who then accused Anthony. Edwards brought a Xylophone with him to emphasise the name to Margot Burns ( a witness who was terrorised by Edwards). Other musical clues he used are here .
There appear to be all kinds of clues in the Zodiac ciphers and letters, pointing to Richard Gaikowski. Whether these were intended to suggest Gaikowski as a suspect is unclear to me, but it seems quite possible.
I have seen it suggested that the DH in the “bus bomb” diagram referenced Donald Harden, who solved the 408 cipher.
The Scotch Tape letter and the Atlanta Child Killings
Scotch Tape and the voice of Lawrence Klein were found at the scene of one of the Atlanta Child Killings, following the publication of the Zodiac “Scotch Tape” letter.
Cheryl Jo Bates’s Killer
The Zodiac fingered the killer of Cheryl Jo Bates (CJBK) when he referred to “riverside activity”. The linkage with CJBK was repeated in the “Zodiac Killer Leads” article in which Edwards accused Donald Lee Bujok. Edwards was in prison at the time of Bate’s murder, so the linkage gave him an alibi. Theory is Zodiac wasn’t CJBK, rather he adopted CJBK’s identity. Edwards previously adopted the identity of his adoptive brother (born 1933), he was born Charles Edward Meyers in 1928.
Manson was a member of the Sierra Club, the Zodiac Pines Card has “Sierra Club” in it. In addition, BRINGO in the 340 cipher references Bonanza ( B side of Ringo ), which was filmed at the Manson ranch. There is also a “Zodiac Car”, possibly Edwards sprayed shortly before he was arrested in 2009.
Note: this may not have been an accusation, so much as a “I taught Charles” reference.
In a 1993 letter to the FBI found in his papers, Edwards requested his criminal and history records for cities in 19 States, claimed that J. Edgar Hoover “more or less gave me permission to proceed” with his 1972 autobiography “after I assured him there was nothing in it bad about the FBI” and he was writing a new book about criminals he met while incarcerated, such as Tony Provenzano, Charles Manson and Jimmy Hoffa.
On April 11, 2003 Steve Hodel’s theory that his father murdered the Black Dahlia in 1947 was announced, on April 13 further rumours in the Black Dahlia case were announced, the very same day that Conner’s body was found. See here.
Could Edwards have planted the bodies of Conner and Laci to “steal” Steve Hodel’s thunder? Was this no strange coincidence, even a clue? See here for the extensive evidence that it was Edwards that murdered the “Black Dahlia” ( Elizabeth Short ) in 1947.
Edwards referred to George Hill Hodel Jr as “Over The Hill Hodel” in 1971, according to Margot Burns.
[ In this instance, I don’t have evidence Edwards actively tried to frame George Hodel, just a curious coincidence ]