Episode 223:

Live at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland (2018)

Zodiac Killer Suspects


The Murder of Stephanie Bryan


Episode 223: Live at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland (2018)

Karen and Georgia cover Zodiac Killer suspects and the murder of Stephanie Bryan.

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Zodiac Killer Suspects

Zodiac Killer Suspects Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Emily Austin on Unsplash

Images Pictured:

Throwback Karen slide (pictured)

Karen's Food Diary slide (pictured)

Richard Gaikowski (via Wikipedia)

Zodiac Killer letter (via Wikipedia)

Zodiac bomb drawing (via Wikipedia)

Zodiac Examiner letter (via Wikipedia)

Zodiac Killer cipher, Vallejo Times-Herald July 31, 1969 (via Wikipedia)

Images Not Pictured:

Arthur Leigh Allen mugshot (via ZodiacKiller.com)

Zodiac Killer sketches (via TrueCrimeZone.com)


"The Zodiac Killer or simply Zodiac is the pseudonym of an unidentified American serial killer who operated in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The killer originated the name in a series of taunting letters and cards sent to the local Bay Area press. The letters included four cryptograms (or ciphers). Of the four cryptograms sent, only one has been definitively solved.

He murdered five known victims in Benicia, Vallejo, Napa County, and San Francisco respectively between December 1968 and October 1969. He targeted young couples, with two of the men surviving attempted murder. He also murdered a male cab driver. The Zodiac himself once claimed to have murdered 37 victims.

Suspects have been named by law enforcement and amateur investigators, but no conclusive evidence has surfaced. The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) marked the case "inactive" in April 2004, but re-opened it at some point prior to March 2007. The case also remains open in the city of Vallejo, as well as in Napa County and Solano County. The California Department of Justice has maintained an open case file on the Zodiac murders since 1969..."

— Source: Zodiac Killer Wikipedia

The Murder of Stephanie Bryan

The Murder of Stephanie Bryan Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Other Images:

Burton Abbott (via FoundAGrave.com)

Elsie Abbott (via SFgate.com)

Mother of Stephanie Bryan and Mary Anne Stewart (AP Photo/Robert H. Houston via Gizmodo.com)

Officers R.T. Sherry and William Robinson at the scene (AP Photo/Robert H. Houston via Gizmodo.com)

Mother of Burton W. Abbott, reacts after hearing her son’s death sentence 1956. (AP Photo/Robert H. Houston via Gizmodo.com)

Stephanie Bryan's belongings displayed by police 1955 (AP Photo/Ernest K Bennett via Gizmodo.com)


"Stephanie Bryan was last seen on April 28, 1955, walking home from school where she went through the parking lot of the Claremont Hotel. A large-scale search failed to find her. In mid-July, Georgia Abbott, Burton Abbott's wife, reported finding personal effects which had belonged to the girl, including a purse and an ID card, in the basement of the Abbotts' home in Alameda. The basement was in the home she shared with her husband, their son Christopher, and Burton's mother, Elsie Abbott (née Moore).

In interviewing the Abbotts, the police learned that Elsie Abbott had found the purse earlier, but said she did not connect it with the case. She would profess her son's innocence until she died.

Police subsequently recovered Stephanie's glasses, a brassiere, and other evidence in the basement. No one in the family could account for how the victim's personal effects came to be in the basement.

Abbott stated he had been at the family's cabin 285 miles away near Weaverville, California, in Trinity County, when Stephanie disappeared.

On July 20, 1955, the victim's body was found by The San Francisco Examiner reporter Ed Montgomery, in a shallow grave, a few hundred feet from the cabin and Abbott was charged with her rape and murder.

The trial was one of the most highly publicized in California history. The prosecution hypothesis was that Abbott had attempted to rape the victim and killed her when she resisted. Abbott pleaded Not Guilty. At the trial, all the evidence produced was circumstantial and nothing directly connected Abbott with Stephanie Bryan's death. The prosecution used emotion to overcome the lack of direct evidence by showing the jury the rotten clothes from the victim's body and waving her bra and panties.

Abbott explained that in May, the basement of the house had been used as a polling site with many people having access. Although the prosecution charged Abbott with attempted rape, the pathologist testified that the body was too decomposed to evaluate it for evidence of sexual assault.

Abbott took the stand and testified for four days, testifying in a calm and poised manner. He spoke in a soft voice and was steadfast in his denials of any knowledge of the crime. He said it was all a "monstrous frame-up". The jury was out seven days before it returned a verdict of guilty of first degree murder. The judge imposed the death sentence.

As provided by California law, there was an automatic appeal to the Supreme Court of California. In a detailed opinion describing the facts of the case and reciting the evidence that had been presented at trial, the court affirmed the conviction and the sentence of death..."

— Source: Burton Abbott Wikipedia