Arthur Leigh Allen

Arthur Leigh Allen, police mugshot, May 31, 1977. This photo was presumably taken prior to Allen's release from Atascadero as part of his registration as a sex offender (California Penal code Section 290 -  the Sex Offender Registration Act)

Born December 18, 1933

Died August 26, 1992

Age in 1969: 36

Address at time of murders: 32 Fresno St Vallejo (Google map)

Other addresses:

Universal Trailer space A-7, Sunset Trailer Park, 2963 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa CA

Other trailer(s) - trailer in Bodega Bay?

6’ 0” 250lbs


Arthur Leigh Allen was for many years a suspect in the Zodiac case. The case against him is strong on the face of it, but is based mostly on circumstantial evidence. According to sources, he went by the name "Leigh." He died in 1992 at the age of 58. 

In 1991, two decades after the Zodiac crimes, Mike Mageau picked Arthur Leigh Allen out of a photo lineup and declared, “That’s him. That’s the man who shot me.” Mageau was asked to assess the certainty of his identification of Allen on a scale of 1 to 10, and replied that his level of certainty was an 8. Mageau claimed that he had never been shown any pictures of Allen or any other suspects by police prior to this.

During the filming of the movie Zodiac, Inspector Dave Toschi told actor Mark Ruffalo, "As soon as that guy walked in the door, I knew it was him." "He was sure he had him," Ruffalo said, "but he never had a solid piece of evidence. So he had to keep investigating every other lead." 

According to Robert Graysmith, several investigators including Dave Toschi (SFPD), George Bawart (Vallejo PD), Capt. Roy Conway (of the Vallejo Police Department), and Lt. Jim Husted of Vallejo PD all believed that Allen was the Zodiac. (This statement by Graysmith is disputed). 



Several people including Allen’s brother Ron, and best friend Glen Rinehart, confirmed that Arthur Leigh Allen could write with both hands. Allen denied that he could write with his left hand.

Terry Pascoe, Department of Justice Document Examiner, indicated that if writing had been a product of a mental state, the writing of subject can be different when in a different mental state, or it could be a case of an intentional deception. And with the talents that Allen has (writes with both hands) this could be done. Pascoe’s recommendation was, ‘Do not eliminate this subject because of handwriting.” (SOURCE?)

Sample of Allen's handwriting.

Hatred of women

Allen’s sister-in-law Karen stated that Allen “hated women” and “had never had a serious relationship with a woman his own age.” She also said, “Arthur hated his mother and had often expressed this hatred in her presence.” Allen was “spoiled and pampered by his mother,” who “did his cooking, washed his clothes, cleaned up after him and gave him money” and “paid for two automobiles and two boats.” 

Allen's friend Phillip Tucker mentioned Allen's "apparent and expressed hatred for women." 

Misspelling words

There are numerous misspelled words in letters from the Zodiac killer.

Allen’s sister-in-law Karen recalled having received a card at Christmas from Arthur in which he spelled "Merry X-Mass" the exact same way as the Zodiac had, doubling the letter S. 

Other people, including Don Cheney, claimed that Arthur Leigh Allen intentionally misspelled words because he thought it was funny. Examples can be seen in Arthur Leigh Allen’s typewritten “funny recipes.” (“Chicking cacciatore”, “Turkey Lassaganyaa”, “Blaked Chicken Lith Lice,” etc). See 

Cars owned by Arthur Leigh Allen

1957 Ford Sedan, Blue/white, in 1971

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia (?)

Austin Healy, color unknown

Buick, white

In 1969, Allen allegedly had access to (and may have borrowed) his friend Phillip Tucker's beat up 1964 brown Chevy Corvair NOTE: Witnesses claim that they saw a car matching this description at the Blue Rock Springs attack.


Arthur Leigh Allen's finger and palm prints were obtained in 1991, during the execution of a search warrant at 32 Fresno Street. Police were unable to match these with prints taken from Paul Stine's cab. 

However, according to the FBI file on Arthur Leigh Allen, "[redacted] went on to indicate that there were so many fingerprints in this public cab that it is unknown that, if in fact, they have the Zodiac's fingerprints at the crime scene or not, and that he also indicated that in some of the letters that the Zodiac had bragged that he put airplane glue on his fingers to obliterate any fingerprints." 



Arthur Leigh Allen enlisted in the Navy… and scored a 135 on his IQ test, five points below genius. (SOURCE?)

June 15, 1958

Arrested for disturbing the peace as the result of an altercation with acquaintance Ralph Spinelli. The charges were dismissed on July 8, 1958. (Source?)

December 1958

Discharged from the Navy. (He “received a discharge other than honorable” according to Don Cheney testimony) (Where was Allen Stationed when he was in the Navy? Source?)


Don Cheney first met Arthur Leigh Allen when he was at Cal Poly with Allen’s brother Ron. “Regular sports car road racing. Ron and Leigh, and sometimes I went with them, we’d go round to the different meets, Laguna Seco (sic), and I went to Riverside with them once.”


Allen taught at Travis Elementary, on Travis Air Force Base, Calif. He was fired for having a loaded weapon in his car on school grounds. (Source?)

1966 (approx)

Allen worked for the Greater Vallejo Recreation Department as a lifeguard and trampoline instructor. As mentioned in a 1971 interview with Ted Kidder, head of GVRD, Allen lost his job at the GVRD “approximately five years earlier” due to his association with small children. Kidder stated that he had received numerous complaints from parents regarding “various acts towards their children.”

October 30, 1966

Allen allegedly was in Riverside the weekend Bates was murdered on Oct 30, 1966 (Sunday). "The information placing Allen in Riverside was developed in 1971 by the Vallejo Police Department (VPD) and the California Department of Justice (DOJ). Allen later hinted it was true, first claiming to have been "in the area" at the time, then telling people he was in nearby Pomona when he first heard of the Bates murder." -- SOURCE?

In his August 4, 1971 interview with detectives, "Allen stated that he had been in southern California at the approximate time as the Riverside murder in which Zodiac is a suspect. This information was volunteered by Allen without prompting." 

According to Zodiac Unmasked (pg. 76) by Robert Graysmith, Allen went to Riverside to watch the Los Angeles International Gran Prix. SOURCE? Graysmith claims that Mel Nicolai said "he was definitely there that weekend." (Zodiac Unmasked, pg. 79) SOURCE?

Is there any definite evidence placing Allen in Riverside that weekend? 

November 1, 1966

Arthur Leigh Allen absent from work at Valley Springs Elementary school.

"Recently I obtained suspect Arthur Leigh Allen’s personnel file from an elementary school where he worked during 1966-68. ... The most startling discovery in Allen’s file was an absentee slip dated Nov. 1, 1966. Yes, within a day or two of the Cheri Jo Bates murder Allen missed work. While I’m assuming Allen missed Nov. 1, the possibility exists that Allen was absent Oct. 31 and that Nov. 1 was merely the date the slip was filled out. Every attempt will be made to gather more information. However you interpret the date, this is yet another piece of tantalizing circumstantial evidence pointing directly at Arthur Leigh Allen’s involvement in the Zodiac crimes." -- SOURCE

"By the time Allens teaching job ended in March 1968, Allen had only used 1 sick day of 19 available. That was Monday Nov. 1, 1966." -- SOURCE?


In 1966, Darlene Ferrin worked at the IHOP at 1400 Tennessee Street in Vallejo, around the corner from Arthur Leigh Allen’s house. At around that time, Allen is alleged to have told Don Cheney that he was fond of a waitress from that restaurant.

"Tom Voigt: There’s an IHOP that’s about a tenth of a mile from his front door there at 32 Fresno.

Don Cheney: Well, it was at the bottom of Fresno and turn right about a block and that’s where it was.

Tom Voigt: And so there was a waitress there that he liked.

Don Cheney: Yeah, she was friendly to him and he thought he might make some headway with her, but I don’t know if he ever did or not.

Tom Voigt: Did, uh, you remember anything about her, how she looked, if she was young or old or . . .?

Don Cheney: She was pretty ordinary.  Cute, you know, she was attractive." 

“In the summer of 1967 Leigh and I went on a deer hunt north of the Bay Area. (...) Just a couple blocks away from his house, nestled at the bottom of Fresno Street, was a pancake house. After the hunting trip, we were going someplace for an outing when we saw a girl there, a waitress. Leigh indicated that he was interested in her and asked what did I think of her. He thought he might make some headway with her. In all the time I had known him this was the only female he had ever mentioned, the only time I’d seen him show interest in a particular woman. He liked women, but they just didn’t like him. The waitress was young, pretty, with brown hair. I don’t remember her name and it was the only time Leigh mentioned her, the only time he mentioned a specific woman. That stuck in my mind.” Don Cheney, as quoted in Zodiac Unmasked, pg 82.

In a related situation, one of Darlene Ferrin's babysitters mentioned a man who checked up on Darlene when she was working at Terry's Restaurant: "Dee appeared to be genuinely frightened of this individual and mentioned sometime that he had been checking up on her at Terry’s Restaurant where Darlene was employed."

According to the police report on the Blue Rock Springs murder, an unidentified male named "Lee" was listed as one of "Darlene's closest friends". "Lee who used to bring Darlene presents from Tia Juana."


Allen taught at Valley Springs Elementary in Valley Springs, California. (92 mi east of Vallejo).

March 1968

Arthur Leigh Allen was fired from his job as an elementary-school teacher for molesting a student. With no source of income, Allen moved back home with his mother and father at 32 Fresno St. in Vallejo.

Allen begins gaining weight and drinking heavily.

Prior to September 1968

While on a diving trip with Phil Tucker, Allen mentioned that he had read a book about hunting people with a bow and arrow, and was fascinated by this idea. That it would be more "sport to hunt people as they had intelligence." 

Tucker later claimed that during "casual type conversations" Allen "discussed a special light attached to a gun barrel so that a person could shoot accurately at night." 

Late 1968(?)

Arthur Leigh Allen started working part-time at Arco Service Station at 640 Broadway, Vallejo.

By winter, Arthur Leigh Allen was in a downward spiral of depression and alcohol abuse.

December 20, 1968

Lake Herman Road Murders

December 1968

Allen's mother, Bernice, gave him a Zodiac Sea Wolf watch as a gift. (According to Allen's brother, Ron, the watch was received in December 1967.) 

January 1, 1969

On New Years day, 1969, Allen had a conversation with Don Cheney in which he said he intended to kill couples at random, threaten school children in taunting letters to the police, and call himself "Zodiac." (From Tom Voigt's interview with Don Cheney on Dec. 30 2000. See:

Cheney later told police that during a hunting trip together, they "were talking more or less in a science-fiction type story with Arthur Allen stating to Cheney 'Have you ever thought of hunting people?'" Allen talked on using the terminology 'If I did this or that," relating how he (Allen) could go to a lover's lane area and use a revolver or pistol with a flashlight attached to same for illumination and an aiming device, would walk up and shoot people." 

January 1969

According to Robert Graysmith, Arthur Leigh Allen was interviewed as a suspect by Detective Sgt. Les Lundblad in the third week after the Lake Herman Road murders. Allen gave Lundblad a similar alibi to that he later gave to Det. Lynch for the Lake Berryessa murder. "I was out at Fort Point near Big Sur scuba diving." No Source given by Graysmith.

April 1969

Arthur Leigh Allen fired from Arco Service Station. The owner Bob Luce said that Allen was an “undependable" employee who had a drinking problem, and that he "seemed to be too interested in small girls.” At this time Arthur Leigh Allen living at home with his mother. 

May 1969

There was a supposed "painting party" at Darlene Ferrin's house. According to Graysmith, "Leigh Allen was on a typewritten guest list of I think 14 people that the police hand [sic]." (SOURCE?)

"Mid-summer" 1969

At some time in the middle of the summer 1969, Allen’s friend, Philip Tucker, was trying to sell his brown 1964 Corvair and left it parked in front of the Arco service station in Vallejo where Allen had recently been employed, and the key was inside the office. Statement says it was at the "Richfield service station at Nebraska and Broadway." "The exact time car was left could not be recalled by Mr. Tucker other than it was mid-summer 1969." 

July 4, 1969

Blue Rock Springs murder. The male victim, Mike Mageau, survived the attack and gave police a description of Zodiac's car: brown in color, possibly a Corvair. 

July 1969

Shortly after the murder of Darlene Ferrin, a relative of the victim informed investigators that Darlene had a relationship of some sort with a man named "Lee".

Glen Rinehart (Arthur Leigh Allen’s diving buddy) later said that he believed Allen became a suspect after the killings in 1968 and 1969, while Arthur Leigh Allen was living alone with his chipmunks in a Santa Rosa mobile home. Rinehart said he believed the police first picked up Allen’s scent after a neighbor in the mobile home park, whom Allen had confronted about beating a dog, phoned police about his eccentric neighbor.

1969-70 school year

Allen was employed part-time as a janitor at Elmer Cave Elementary School in Vallejo. (During Allen's stint at Cave, Zodiac wrote letters threatening school children.)

September 27, 1969 

Lake Berryessa attack. 

According to Robert Graysmith, Allen "admitted to being [at Lake Berryessa] a hour before in letters and to his fellow workers at the Sonoma Auto Parts store." (SOURCE?) See 

Allen told detectives that he was scuba diving on the weekend of the attack, at a place called Salt Point Ranch near Fort Ross. He claimed that he went alone, but "became acquainted with a serviceman and his wife who was stationed at Treasure Island. He did not recall this person's name but had it written down somewhere at home." - 

On the day of the Berryessa attack, a neighbor apparently saw knives in Allen's car. He later said in a police interview, "The two knives I had in my car with blood on them, the blood came from a chicken I had killed." 

"In the process of building their film all three became crackerjack detectives, finding new evidence such as a map of Lake Berryessa showing paved and gravel roads in and out of the area, the site of the murder and signed Arthur Leigh Allen." ---Robert Graysmith. SOURCE? See 

Oct 6, 1969

In October, 1969, Vallejo Sgt. John Lynch was the first to interview Arthur Leigh Allen as a suspect. This interview took place at the Elmer Cave Elementary School. 

"4:05 PM  Went to Elmer Cave School and contacted Arthur Lee Allen WMA 35 years dob 12-18-33. Resides 32 Fresno St, is single lives with his parents. Arthur 6'1", 241, heavy build and is bald. On 9-26-69 Arthur went skin diving on salt point ranch, stayed overnight and returned to Vallejo on 9-27-69. This at approximately 2 to 4:30 PM. Is a student at Vallejo Jr College and works part time as a custodian at Elmer Cave School.

Arthur states that on 9-27-69 after he returned from skin diving he stayed at home the remainder of the day. Unable to recall whether or not his parents were home on that day. (Lynch)" 

Vallejo PD file on murders, included in FBI File on Zodiac murders

“I talked to Leigh at great length several times,” said Lynch. “He was up the coast at Bodega Bay [where he had a trailer]” ….. “Checked his car and he had his scuba gear in the back of the car. Real old dirty car.”

“Someone thought you might be the Zodiac killer and reported you,” said Lynch matter-of-factly. “Is that a fact,” Allen said with a laugh as if such an accusation was an everyday occurrence. He placed his broom against the wall. Lynch looked him up and down. “Well, Zodiac had curly hair,” Lynch said, thinking of Linda’s description, “and you obviously don’t. So that’s it.” - From Zodiac Unmasked, by Robert Graysmith, pp. 44-45. See 

Linda Del Buono, Blue Rock Springs victim Darlene Ferrin’s sister, had prepared a composite drawing for the Vallejo P.D. “They compared Linda’s composite to another Zodiac composite, and told me, ‘Everything but the chin was right.’ This was supposed to be a profile of a guy named ‘Lee’ who hung out at Darlene’s painting party, the same guy Linda observed harassing her sister while she was waitressing at Terry’s Restaurant. -- From Zodiac Unmasked, by Robert Graysmith, p. 45.

Late 1969? 1970? 1971?

Don Cheney claimed that he became alarmed after he heard of the Oct 13, 1969 Zodiac letter that mentioned “pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out”--- since Allen had used this same phrase. He then went to Pomona Police (Los Angeles) to report his suspicion that Allen was the Zodiac killer. “I stewed on it for a while, and then I, then I went to the Pomona Police Department.” Cheney was living in Pomona at the time. He filed a report at Pomona PD and nothing came of it.

“Uh, so if I was at Fluor in ’69 and ’70, might have been late ’70 or early ’71.  I was operating a paper mill at that time, in my neighborhood in Pomona, and I believe that was when I finally was, assured myself that Leigh was the Zodiac.  Because of those quotes.” -- Don Cheney, See

The timeline here is not clear to me. Cheney says he went to Pomona police to report his suspicions about Arthur Leigh Allen after reading about the letter mentioning the “little kiddies” (Oct 13, 1969 letter). Cheney perhaps went to Pomona PD in late 1969 or 1970. (Police file or other SOURCE? When did this happen?)


Allen attended Sonoma State College (near Santa Rosa), majoring in biological sciences with a minor in chemistry. He completed all academic requirements in 1974, but did not receive his bachelor's of science degree until after July 1981. (During Allen's stint at Sonoma State, the Zodiac murders apparently ceased. However, the Sonoma coed killings began. According to retired special agent Jim Silver of the California Department of Justice, if you mapped where the coeds were last seen and where they were later found dead, Allen's trailer would be directly in the center.)


Allen working at Union Oil in Pinole, California,

July 12, 1971

Clarence Smith, AKA the "Sickle Slayer", or the "Dog Bar Killer", murdered two people at the Dog Bar campground, located on the Bear River in Nevada County. Don Chaney read a story about the murders in a LA newspaper and saw a drawing of the killer and it jogged his memory about Arthur Leigh Allen.

July 15, 1971

Cheney’s business partner, Santo Panzarella, called the Manhattan Beach Police Department and spoke to Detective Richard Amos regarding information on a possible suspect in the Zodiac killings in San Francisco Area. Panzarella told Amos that he and Cheney “have for some time had suspicions on an ARTHUR LEIGH ALLEN, who lives in the City of Vallejo, California. The recent killings in the Grass Valley Area by an unknown suspect, middle-aged, brought the suspicions to a focus.”

Det. Richard Amos and Det. Art Langstaff interviewed Panzarella and Cheney at their business address in Torrance CA. A report was prepared by MBPD for Inspector Toschi of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).

Cheney claimed that Arthur Leigh Allen told him about light attached to a gun. (or showed it to him). Also said he would kill people at lovers lanes, and call himself Zodiac. Talked about the “Most Dangerous Game”. Talked about killing the little darlins as they came off school bus etc. Cheney’s credibility in this is critical to Arthur Leigh Allen as suspect.

Summary of what Arthur Leigh Allen told Cheney

See report and full Cheney testimony here:

July 26, 1971

San Francisco Police Dept. Inspector Bill Armstrong travelled to Torrance to meet with Don Cheney at his place of business. Summary of interview: 

According to Cheney, both Armstrong and Toschi interviewed him and Santo “Sandy” Panzarella. (SOURCE?)

July 27, 1971

SFPD inspectors Dave Toschi and Bill Armstrong, along with Special Agent Mel Nicolai from CII, traveled to Vallejo to meet with Sgt. Jack Mulanax of VPD regarding Allen. It was decided that more background information on Allen would be obtained before any contact would be made with him. Mulanax immediately began investigating Allen and compiling a summary report.

Mulanax later wrote: "Armstrong strongly convinced that his source of information is good. He made personal contact with informant over past weekend and could not shake statement given in report as to dates, substance of suspect's remarks, etc." 

Arthur Leigh Allen Vallejo Police Report, July 27, 1971:

August 4, 1971

Mulanax, Toschi, and Armstrong interviewed Allen at his place of employment in Pinole, Calif. (The last authenticated Zodiac letter had been mailed in March 1971, just a few months earlier. However, after Allen's interview by police, it would be two-and-a-half years before Zodiac would write again.)

Allen said that on the day of the Berryessa murder, he was skindiving at a place called Salt Point Ranch near Fort Ross, and that he returned home to Vallejo by 4PM. Upon returning home he talked to a neighbor named William White shortly after pulling into his driveway. This neighbor, according to Allen, died a week later. 

Is there any documentation of this neighbor, including when he died, and cause of death? 

Mulanax wrote in his notes about the interview “. . . without any questioning regarding a knife, Allen made the following statement: ‘The two knives I had in my car with blood on them, the blood came from a chicken I had killed.’ He evidently of the opinion that we had some information regarding a knife that we did not possess." 

Allen also stated that he had been in southern California "at the approximate time" of the Bates murder in Riverside. This information volunteered by Allen without prompting." 

Allen confessed to the police that he had an interest in guns, but only owned .22 calibers. Allen also related having read a book in high school which made a lasting impression on him. He stated the title of the book was “The Most Dangerous Game.” Cheney had previously mentioned the same story as one of things Allen had seemed strangely preoccupied with during one of their hunting trips.

During the interview the detectives noticed that Allen was wearing a watch with the brand name "Zodiac." Above the brand name was the circle and cross hairs such as used as a signature on the Zodiac letters.

"Allen expressed his willingness to assist investigators in any manner possible. Stated he wished the time wold come when police officers were no longer referred to as "Pigs".

Allen stated that he may have discussed the Zodiac case with Mr. Kidder or Mr. Tucker of the Vallejo Recreation Department while working there. 

"Allen was asked if he was in southern California in 1966. His response was, 'You mean about the Riverside killing?' The information on the killing in Riverside in 1966 was not made public until November 1970." 

August 4, 1971

Following this interview in 1971, SFPD Detective Dave Toschi met with Ted Kidder and Phillip Tucker of GVRD. Kidder and Tucker admitted they discussed whether Arthur Leigh Allen could be Zodiac.

Phillip Tucker, General Supervisor Recreation District, recalled that Allen told him he had been questioned by police as a suspect in the Zodiac case. He also “remembered Allan having discussed a special light attached to a gun barrel so that a person could shoot accurately at night.” See also: 

"Mr. [Redacted... either Tucker or Kidder] stated that for the last two years Arthur Allen had brought up the Zodiac case in conversation and he felt that Arthur Allen had an interest in the Zodiac case." 

Arthur Leigh Allen showed Tucker and wife a paper that had symbols similar to those used in Zodiac letters. "Symbols and code very neatly done." He took this paper out of a gray metal box and said that he showed this particular thing to "very certain people." 

Joan Tucker (Phillip's wife) stated that she "identified numerous symbols used in Zodiac code as being the same as she saw in the papers shown her by Allen." She recalled the letters being drawn with a felt-point pen. 

"Mr. Tucker recalls Allen obtaining from a metal box some letters containing several pages of legal terminology and several pages of the letters had symbols or codes or cryptograms which were unusual to both Mr. Tucker and his wife." 

Ron Allen later told police that he "did have knowledge of a gray metal box in his brother's bedroom." Ronald also said his brother “drank to excess and had a definite problem as far as children were concerned.” 

Tucker revealed that "approximately three weeks prior" (prior to the Summer of 1969?), he had met with Allen in order to persuade him to seek psychiatric treatment. This meeting had taken place at the request of Allen’s sister in law, Karen Allen, after Allen had “some recent involvement with a child that the family had received a complaint about.” Despite his efforts, Tucker “apparently could not get through to him he needed help. The conversation ended by Tucker requesting Allen not to come around his home in the future and that their association had come to an end.” 

Tucker, Cheney, and Allen all mentioned the “Most Dangerous Game” and Allen’s fascination with hunting people. Allen apparently mentioned a fascination with the idea of hunting people with a bow and arrow. According to Allen, people would be more challenging to hunt than animals, since they "have intelligence." (He had “archery equipment” listed in his will).

Tucker stated that Allen "could have driven" his Brown Corvair, either when it was parked at the service station, or later when it was parked in front of his father-in-law's home.

Tucker said he believed Allen was a schizophrenic personality. That he was an avid reader of science fiction, who at times seemed to live what he read. He also related his "apparent and expressed hatred for women."

August 4, 1971

Mulanax interviews Karen Allen at Vallejo PD. Karen stated that Allen “hated women” and “had never had a serious relationship with a woman his own age.” Also that “Arthur hated his mother and had often expressed this hatred in her presence.” Allen was “spoiled and pampered by his mother,” who “did his cooking, washed his clothes, cleaned up after him and gave him money” and “paid for two automobiles and two boats.”

"Mulanax passed copies of Zodiac’s bizarre notes to Karen. She studied them and said she had noticed a paper with similar printing in her in-law’s hand in November 1969. “What is that?” she had asked. “This is the work of an insane person,” Leigh replied. “I’l show you later.”" --  Zodiac Unmasked, pg. 53. SOURCE?

August 4, 1971

Toschi, Armstron, and Mulanax interview Ron Allen and Karen Allen at their home at 216 Aragon St, Vallejo. 

(August?) 1971

Police did not feel that they had enough evidence to obtain a warrant to search Allen’s Fresno Street address, so they turned to Allen’s brother for help. Ronald Allen searched his brother’s basement room and apparently found some “cryptogram type material, but he was unsure if they related to the Zodiac.” Ronald Allen did not find anything else that appeared to be relevant to the investigation. "[Redacted] informed him that he had observed some cryptogram-type materials, but was unsure if they were related to the Zodiac." 

September 7, 1972

Don Cheney was reinterviewed by [Redacted. Armstrong?]. Cheney added "I thought of something else. ... I recall that he asked me how you could disguise your handwriting. I told him I guess you could go to the library and get books on writing examination to figure out how writing is identified." 

Sep 14, 1972

Search warrant executed on Arthur Leigh Allen’s trailer at the Sunset Trailer Park, 1963 Santa Rosa Avenue, lot A-7, in Santa Rosa, CA. Allen was living in the trailer at the time. Allen also had a shed on the same lot.

Inspectors Armstrong and Toschi traveled to Santa Rosa, and found Allen’s trailer sitting at the Sunset Trailer Park. Allen was not present, but the investigators opened the trailer and began to conduct a preliminary inspection. The men were surprised to find a small freezer containing the bodies of several dead squirrels. Allen was attempting to earn a degree in biology at the time and had obtained permission from the state to experiment on such animals. Police also found a large dildo and other sexually oriented materials.

According to a 1992 FBI memo: "the evidence which was collected included sado-masochistic pornography, dildos, blood-stained clothing. Prints were also lifted from Allen's trailer. However, these prints did not match any prints taken from 'ZODIAC' crime scenes." 

According to Zodiac film: “Inside they find squirrels running amok, in cages, and in the refrigerator – part of Allen’s work towards a biology degree. They also discover two handguns, an M-1 rifle, and two blue windbreakers similar to the one worn by the killer of cabdriver Paul Stine. A large jar of Vaseline and a wooden dildo are visible near the bed. Toschi discovers a pair of black, size seven gloves, and remarks that Allen and Zodiac share the same boot and glove size. Allen arrives and the investigators seem happy to see him, but the search of the trailer fails to uncover any further evidence to implicate the tempting suspect.” ---- SOURCE for results of trailer search? 2 handguns, windbreaker etc.

"At 2:55 P.M. Arthur Leigh Allen arrives at the trailer in space A-7 driving his Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. Asks what is happening. Inv. Insps. Re-introduce ourselves and other officers present. A. Allen is shown original copy of search warrant, and same is explained to him. He is told that as before in Vallejo we are still investigating the Zodiac murder case. He accompanies us into the trailer. He is asked if he will give us a sample of his hand printing. He complies. He is asked to write with his right hand. He states that he cannot because he is left handed. He is advised that we are only interested in sample of his right hand printing. He complies starting to write in longhand. He is then told that we request printing only. He then begins to print with his right hand, protesting that he does not write with same and finds it very difficult. He states that he has very little ability with his right hand. 

He completes a small amount of printing with right hand in what appears to be great difficulty. Finally stating he finds it impossible to print with the right hand. He states that he at one time was a boxer and no ability with the right hand, which is usually the case with all left handed people. 

Miranda warning is read to Allen by Toschi.

Allen is again asked if he can recall any conversation in late 1967 in which he made statements as previously outlined by witness Cheney. He states that he cannot recall having made such statements. Allen states that he had thought of this and the only person that could have given this information to us is Dick Woodruf. Allen was asked as to his opinion of a Mr. Donald Cheney. He states that Cheney is a nice guy and very reliable. Allen is then told that the information as to Allen's statements in 1967 came from Donald Cheney. That he and Cheney were allegedly in his room in Vallejo. That C. was leafing through a playboy mag. That they were discussing hunting. That Allen brought up, the subject of the book 'The Most Dangerous Game'  That Allen allegedly stated that you could seek out victims in Lovers lane areas at nighttime... shoot them with gun with flashlight attached to barrell. That he would call himself Zodiac. That you could send letters to police chiding them. That you could shoot school children as they came out of school bus after shooting out the tire.

Allen denies any recollection of any such conversation with Cheney.

Allen is asked if in said conversation or in any conversation he discussed writing letters and disguising your hand writing. He states that he does not recall any conversation of this kind.

States that if he made any such statements he is sure that he would recall same."

SEE: Police summary report on Search Warrant

Image of right hand writing 

Handwriting samples here:

SOURCE: Get SOURCE for results of search at trailer

Sept. 24, 1974

On September 24, 1974, Sonoma Police received a complaint from a woman named Beverly ____, that her son David had been repeatedly molested by a "family friend" named Arthur Leigh Allen who lived at the Sunset Trailer Park. 

Three days later, on September 27, police executed a search warrant on Arthur Leigh Allen trailer. They found vaseline, cold cream, and a pice of wood in the shape of a dildo, approximately 8-10" in length. These were photographed and taken into evidence. 

A short time later, Allen was sighted at a Lumber company one block away from the trailer park. He was taken into custody and brought to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, where he was interviewed. The Sheriff Department audio taped the interview. Allen "almost immediately" started asking about the possible disposition of the case, and asked if the judge would be more lenient "supposing" he plead guilty. He expressed that he was very concerned about what type of sentence he would get, and said that he did not want to become an inmate at Atascadero State Prison, where he had worked 15 years previously. After the interview, Allen was booked into the county jail.

March 14, 1975

After pleading guilty, Allen began serving his sentence at Atascadero State Hospital on March 14, 1975. 

Arthur Leigh Allen stayed in Atascadero State Prison from March 1975 to Aug 31, 1977. 

No Zodiac letters were written during this period. The last letter from Zodiac was July 8, 1974.

"Zodiac had written several times in 1974, breaking a two-and-a-half year silence. However, no authenticated Zodiac letter was ever received again after Allen's arrest [in Sep 1974]." --- Tom Voigt 

Atascadero State Hospital, formally known as California Department of State Hospitals- Atascadero (DSHA), is located on the Central Coast of California, in San Luis Obispo County, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. DSHA is an all-male, maximum-security facility, forensic institution that houses mentally ill convicts who have been committed to psychiatric facilities by California's courts. -- wikipedia

While at Atascadero, Allen apparently forged a letter from DOJ Investigator Silver stating that he had passed polygraph, and should no longer be considered a suspect. (Another analyst concluded that Allen was on drugs at the time of the test, and failed. SOURCE?)

August 31, 1977

Arthur Leigh Allen released from Atascadero State Prison

January 1978

Arthur Leigh Allen hired at Benicia Import Auto Service,


Arthur Leigh Allen later worked at Ace Hardware at the corner of Amador Street and Tennessee Street in Vallejo.

Sometime between 1985-1995

Glen Rinehart, Arthur Leigh Allen’s “best friend” interviewed by Vallejo PD some time between 1985-1995 (SOURCE?) see:

Glen Rinehart, “one-time diving buddy” of Arthur Leigh Allen is now 84-years-old. Still alive? He did not believe Arthur Leigh Allen was Zodiac. “You can’t believe the emotional strain he went through,” said Rinehart.

January 10, 1989

Arthur Leigh Allen’s mother Bernice dies.

December 1990

Criminal Ralph Spinelli tells police (through his lawyer) that he was prepared to reveal the name of the Zodiac killer if “some type of deal is made regarding his offenses.” Detective Jim Overstreet called the Vallejo Police Department to report Spinelli’s claim, and was referred to Detective George Bawart. The Vallejo Police Department had retained Bawart on “a contract type basis to do follow up” on leads in the Zodiac case after his retirement in September of 1989.

NOTE: Arthur Leigh Allen’s name had, at this point, never been published in any media linked to Zodiac case. However, many private citizens were obviously aware that he was a suspect in the case.

After this VPD relaunched investigation into Arthur Leigh Allen as suspect. Bawart w/ Captain Conway.

The Bawart Report (Date?). George Bawart. Vallejo PD Detective. See:

February 13, 1991

Vallejo PD execute a search warrant on Arthur Leigh Allen house at 32 Fresno Street, and also on sailboat kept at 1545 Broadway, Vallejo (Google street view). According to an FBI memo, Allen had lived in the basement apartment at 32 Fresno Street "since his release from Atascadero State Hospital" in 1977. Investigators described the basement apartment as "very dark and dreary, almost museum-like."

"Every item in Allen's residence was searched, including all of Allen's the books, personal belongings, diaries, records, etc. No evidence tying Allen directly to the 'ZODIAC' murders was recovered." 

At the time of the search warrant, I believe there was a woman renting the upstairs rooms. Her name may have been Sharon something. There is a "Sharon [redacted]" living at 32 Fresno Street who is mentioned in Allen's will. 

Search warrant results:

"The following personal property was taken from: 32 Fresno Street, and 1545 Broadway, City of Vallejo

Property Taken from 32 Fresno Street

No items removed from boat at 1545 Broadway, City of Vallejo"

Reference to “basement” in Nov 1969 letter:,_November_9th_1969

The search uncovered a box of audio reel tapes and an audio cassette tape which Allen apparently claimed “was a tape in which he is spanking a young boy who was feigning pain. According to Allen, he found this tape to be sexually stimulating. 

According to the Bawart report, "An older Royal typewriter with elite type was found during the service of the search warrant at Allen's residence on 02/91."  (NOTE: The Bates confession letter was typed on a Royal typewriter with (apparently) Elite type.)


**"To date, even though it was an item it was looking for in the 1991 search, VPD has not attempted matching Allen's typewriter to that of the anonymous confessions."--- Tom Voigt. 

The search warrant revealed Allen owned the same type of ammunition used to kill the victims of Zodiac's Lake Herman Road attack (ie. Winchester Super X .22 caliber) The search warrant result lists: “Winchester, Super and miscellaneous ammo for .32, .22, .44, and 30 caliber.”


California DOJ lists:  “Suspect may possess: Winchester western ammunition”

The search warrant also revealed Allen owned a foot-long knife with a sheath and rivets. VPD has not tried to match knife to wounds, or shown it to Bryan Hartnell for identification (SOURCE?)

Photo of some of the weapons found in search

Other photos taken during the search: (Photo1) (Photo 2) (Photo 3) (Photo 4)

The FBI memorandum states: “Allen was shown a piece of yellow lined paper which contained a ‘menu’ for making a bomb. Allen told investigators that he never saw that piece of paper before, and denied having left several bombs in a friend’s basement years ago.”  See also: 

Handwritten formulas for bombs were found in Arthur Leigh Allen’s basement. Where are the “handwritten formulas for bombs”? These must exist at Vallejo PD. Compare with Zodiac bomb diagrams? Allen denied any knowledge of making bombs, or ever writing formulas for making bombs.

Among Allen’s belongings police found four pipe bombs, one primer cord, seven impact devices, two rolls of safety fuses, nine non-electric blasting caps, pipes, pipe threads and vises, fireworks, black powder, and bottles of potassium nitrate and sulfur.

A Zodiac letter postmarked Nov. 9, 1969 contained a bomb diagram. Ingredients for the bomb included ammonium nitrate, fertilizer and gravel. Zodiac claimed in the letter that the bomb was being stored in his basement and that his "killing tools" were acquired through "mail order outfits." In 1991, the search warrant executed by VPD revealed Allen had, in his basement, handwritten diagrams for bombs comprised of ammonium nitrate, fertilizer and gravel. Also found were mail-order catalogs for bombs, guns and booby traps. (SOURCE - can we get scans of these diagrams?)

"... the officer by whom this Warrant was executed, do swear that the above inventory contains a true and detailed account of all the property taken by me on the Warrant. 

All of the property taken by virtue of said Warrant will be retained in my custody subject to the order of this court or of any Court in which the offense in respect to which the property or things taken is triable. 


... on the bases of the information contained within this affidavit, he has probable cause to believe and does believe that the property described below is seizable pursuant to Penal Code section 1524 in that it: (Check appropriate box ...

X - was stolen or embezzled

x - was used as a means of committing a felony

x - is evidence which tends to show that a felony has been committed or a particular person has committed a felony." 


Date unknown

Bryan Hartnell confronted Arthur Leigh Allen in the hardware store with DOJ Investigator SILVER, and confirmed that Allen’s physical size and voice matched the person at Berryessa. The Bawart report says this happened “in the mid-1970s”. --- Zodiackillerfacts seems to suggest this happened around 1991… NO SOURCE GIVEN

June 11, 1991

George Bawart and Captain Conway reinterviewed Phil Tucker. Tucker said that Arthur Leigh Allen had read a book about hunting people with a bow and arrow, and was fascinated by this idea. This conversation took place prior to September 1968. Bawart noted that this was almost identical to a conversation Cheney claimed to have had with Allen in January 1969. Tucker was asked if he knew Cheney, and said he did not. Tucker also said he had seen Allen write with both hands "equally well". Tucker also said Allen "had an interest in codes, and that he had seen a handwritten Zodiac-type cryptogram in Allen's house prior to any cryptograms being published in the newspaper." 

August 1991

Mike Mageau identified Arthur Leigh Allen as being the shooter. This identification was the result of Mageau being shown a photo lineup by George Bawart of the Vallejo Police Department.

Bawart described the identification and stated that Mageau saw Allen’s photo and declared, “That’s him. That’s the man who shot me.” Mageau was asked to assess the certainty of his identification of Allen on a scale of 1 to 10, and Mageau replied that his level of certainty was an 8.

When Bawart asked Mageau why he had never identified Allen in the 20 years Allen had been the top suspect, Mageau said that he had never been shown any pictures of suspects and he had only been asked if he recognized certain names. The photo used was from Arthur Leigh Allen’s 1968 driver’s license. (NOTE: date discrepancy. Bawart says this took place in “mid-1992”. See )

August 26, 1992

Arthur Leigh Allen dies

August 1992

After Arthur Leigh Allen died, a second search warrant revealed more bomb formulas, a video tape of all TV interviews related to Zodiac. Also a letter “to be opened upon his death” stated that he was not the zodiac, and had been persecuted by Vallejo PD.

(“VPD has been extremely secretive about the results of this search. The objective was to seize a videotape Allen had in his possession that was labeled with a "Z." The exact contents of the video have never been revealed, although VPD has said there was no confession.”) --- SOURCE? Tom Voigt

Allen had a collection of video tapes next to his bed, but he had placed one tape on a bookshelf across the room. This tape had been labeled “Z.” Police seized a computer.

"It said Zodiac on label, but Bawart told me that it only showed Allen mooning the police." - Graysmith. SEE SOURCE?

"By the way David Fincher and his investigator, Max Daly, found a survivalist catalog taken from that basement that had pictures of a bomb disposal costume you could buy--a square black hood coming down over the chest." Graysmith. SEE SOURCE?

SOURCE: Get original SOURCE for contents of house after death. Did they search under floorboards etc?

Larry Ankron of the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Unit in Quantico, Virginia, told Bawart that the Zodiac killings would probably still be continuing if the killer was not deceased or imprisoned. He stated that most serial killers would “keep souvenirs or trophies from these criminal acts…so they can keep these in a hidden place and relive the incident many times over.” Dr. Ankron added that such killers would often store these trophies along with “journals and news clippings of the crimes themselves” in “ingenious hiding places within their residence such as, false walls, hidden safe, etc.” Bawart was also advised that it was possible that a serial killer might have a storage place at another location.


In 1994, Conway told writer Rider McDowell, “I believe as I always have that the Zodiac was Arthur Leigh Allen,” and stated, “If Allen were alive today, we would file charges against him as the Zodiac.” Jim Lang, then Chief Deputy District Attorney for Solano County, also told McDowell, “If things had continued to develop against Allen, we would have filed charges.”



Manhattan Beach PD report on informants Don Cheney and Santo Panzarella (3 pages) - Dated July 19, 1971, a letter from Manhattan Beach Chief of Police Charles Crumley to Inspector Toschi of SFPD, summarizing Don Cheney's interview re: Arthur Leigh Allen.

The Mulanax report: Vallejo PD Summary Report on Arthur Leigh Allen (14 pages) - Between July 27 and Aug 8 , 1971 Jack Mulanax of Vallejo PD compiled a summary file on suspect Arthur Leigh Allen.

The Bawart Report (7 pages) - In 1990, Vallejo PD Det. George Bawart compiled a summary report on Arthur Leigh Allen.

Interview with Don Cheney, by Tom Voigt, Dec. 30, 2000

Results of Feb 1991 Search Warrant on 32 Fresno Street (3 pages)

FBI report on Arthur Leigh Allen, March 1992 (Alternate link here)

Results of search warrant after Allen's death, 8/27/1992

Arthur Leigh Allen's Last Will and Testament

Notes on "2/28 Meeting" with Arthur Leigh Allen -- "If you had something on me, you'd charge." Who was this meeting with? Was this in 1991?



Arthur Leigh Allen’s trailer at the Sunset Trailer Park, 1963 Santa Rosa Avenue, lot A-7, in Santa Rosa, CA.  Subject of search warrant on September 14, 1972

Weapons in Allen's basement, from the February 13, 1991 search warrant

Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, Sept. 29, 1974

32 Fresno Street, Vallejo CA, where Arthur Leigh Allen lived in the basement.

Atascadero State Hospital, where Arthur Leigh Allen was held from March 1975 to Aug 31, 1977

Jan. 7, 1972

Allen in the basement of 32 Fresno Street, 1991

Allen's mother, Bernice, gave him a Zodiac Sea Wolf watch as a gift in December 1968. The watch was seized in the February 13, 1991 search warrant. 

It has been pointed out that the words "Lee Allen" appear in the 408-cipher.

Arthur Leigh Allen handwriting sample with the right hand. Allen claimed he could not write with his right hand.