Whoever the Zodiac Killer was, he ranks among the like of Jack the Ripper, Bible John, the Servant Girl Annihilator, and the Atlanta Ripper as serial killers who were never caught. While the motive of the killings for some of these fellows will never be known, we can conclude from the letters of the Zodiac Killer that he murdered his victims because he liked killing people. He clearly expressed this in one of his letters. For him, man is the most dangerous animal to kill and doing so was a “thrilling experience”. Like the rest of his kinds, this killer had a twisted mind. He believed he would be reincarnated in a paradise where the people he killed would be his slaves. Several people were suspected to be the Zodiac Killer and Richard Gaikowski was one of them; below are the things to know about him.
Facts To Know About Richard Gaikowski
1. Background Details of Richard Gaikowski
Richard Joseph Gaikowski also known as Dick Gyke was born in Watertown, a city you will find in Codington County, South Dakota. He was born on the 14th of March 1934 and was raised in the city. Richard schooled at Webster High School and thereafter, attended the Northern State Teachers College located in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
2. He Served In The Army
It is said that the man suspected to be the Zodiac killer served the Army in the 1950s for about two years as a medic. He was also an activist journalist and worked with several publishing houses. At some point as a journalist, sometime in October 1965, Richard Gaikowski got himself arrested intentionally so that he can be jailed. He wanted to spend some time behind bars in order to write a piece about the state of the jail from the perspective of a prisoner.
3. And Was Also a Filmmaker
Gaikowski was a big fan of the arts. Apart from being a writer and editor, he produced and directed a few films and other projects like Drummer, Moody Teenager, Festival of the Bards, and Deaf/Punk.
Is Richard Gaikowski The Zodiac Killer?
For several reasons, it has been expressed in various quarters that Richard Gaikowski was the Zodiac Killer, even though the claim is yet to be authenticated substantively. Apart from the fact that he looked like the sketch of the Zodiac Killer offered by the authorities, the following are 10 reasons why Richard Gaikowski was suspected as the killer who claimed to have killed 37 people.
4. He Sounded Like the Killer
After the Blue Rock Springs attack in Vallejo, California on the 4th of July 1969, the Vallejo Police Department received a call the next day from a man who said he was responsible for the attack that claimed the life of Darlene Ferrin and left Michael Mageau hospitalized. A police dispatcher named Nancy Slover received the call from the Zodiac Killer and would later point out that a recording of Richard Gaikowski’s voice is the same as that of the Zodiac killer.
5. His Handwriting Was Consistent With That of The Zodiac Killer
This was determined by the California Department of Justice. To verify this, more samples believed to be Richard’s writings were collected but it was concluded that they were not a match.
6. Richard Gaikowski’s Colleague Was Convinced He’s The Killer
Identified as Goldcatcher to protect his identity, the said colleague worked with Richard in the 1980s for a newspaper. Goldcatcher secretly recorded Richard for hours and came to believe he was the Zodiac Killer because Gaikowski had a lot of information about the killings of Zodiac.
7. His Name Appeared In One of The Zodiac Killer’s Cryptograms
Being a writer, Richard Gaikowski went by names like “Gaik” or “Gike” as his last name for the articles he published in 1969. Now, the Zodiac Killer was fond of sending cryptogram letters to the press. The one he sent on the 31st of July 1969 had “GYKE”, which was taken to be another short form of Richard’s last name. In addition to that, the cipher was coded in such a way that phonetically derives Richard’s full last name.
8. The Zodiac Killer Went Silent When Richard Was Committed to a Mental Health Facility
For many people, the fact that Richard Gaikowski had a mental issue that saw him receive treatment at San Francisco’s Mount Zion Hospital is enough reason to suspect he was the Zodiac Killer. What’s more, the killer didn’t send out any letter for almost 3 years that happens to be when Richard was involuntarily committed to getting treated for mental illness.
9. He Didn’t Mail Any Letter on Wednesday
Richard worked for Good Times, a weekly newspaper that had Wednesday as its production day. As the Zodiac Killer had a total of 15 letters mailed on every other day of the week except on Wednesday, it was hypothesized that Richard was the killer and didn’t get to send out any letter on Wednesday because of the unusual workload employees of the establishment were subjected to on Wednesdays.
10. What Happened To Richard Gaikowski?
Although there seems to be a lot of things that validate having Richard Gaikowski as a suspect for the murders the Zodiac Killer committed, authorities never had any evidence to nail him for the killings. Richard passed away in San Francisco on the 30th of April 2004; he died of cancer.