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Defense Attorney, Melvin Belli in his own words (1970):

The next I heard from Zodiac was at Christmas. After that, he called my home any number of
times. Always he said, Melvin, I need help . . . but somehow he always backed off. (My stern-
sounding German housekeeper, Erna, who is really a lamb, has had more conversations with
the man than I. She still says, He sounded more frightened of me than I was of him!)

Now, nothing. (My bold; ellipsis from original San Antonio Express quote)

[Belli, Melvin. A Message for Zodiac. San Antonio Express. 22 Dec. 1970.]

Referenced copy from Chris Yarbroughs archives at ZodiacKillerTRUTH.com:


Defense Attorney, Melvin Belli in his own words (1976):

The Zodiac, judging from his taunting notes to the police and press, wanted public attention. I
was sure hed call again.

He did. On December 18, 1969, the Zodiac sent me a brief note wishing me a happy Christmas.
I went off on safari to Africa. But while I was there, the Zodiac, according to my housekeeper,
phoned me several times. Then, in April, the Zodiac sent a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle.
This time he claimed he had killed ten, not five, and wanted public recognition for it. He wanted
people in town to wear Zodiac lapel buttons. . . .

As far as we know, nobody ever heard from the Zodiac again [ed.: as of 1976]. The police stayed
on the case. They felt the Zodiac may indeed have killed more persons than theyd originally
believed, including one young woman in Riverside, California, in 1966 and another woman in
the San Bernardino area in 1967. (Belli, p. 295; my bold)

[Belli, Melvin, and Robert B. Kaiser. My Life on Trial: An Autobiography. New York: William
Morrow, 1976.]

OBJECTION! The happy Christmass letter was Mailed: Dec. 20, 1969; Postmarked: San
Francisco, Calif.; Sent to: Melvin Belli. The Zodiac does NOT include any date within this letter.
The envelope bears one of the clearest postmarks in all publicly available Zodiac evidence: San
Francisco Dec 20 PM 1969 CA

OBJECTION! Melvin Belli (with R. B. Kaiser) is erroneously conflating the 1970, Apr. 28
Dragon card (referencing buttons but no victim count) with the preceding 1970, Apr. 20 My
Name Is letter, which directly followed Bellis own letter from the Zodiac.

OBJECTION! At no point does the Zodiac ever claim to have killed five victims. He lists
7 at the end of his 1969, Nov. 8 Dripping Pen card. The next increment in victim count comes
with his statement in the 1969, Dec. 20 letter to Melvin Belli that he will loose control again
and take a ninth and possibly tenth victim. He then writes, ten people to date in his very next
letter, the 1970, Apr. 20 My Name Is with a 10 listed under the accompanying bomb diagram.

OBJECTION! There exists no evidence for any Zodiac-related murder victim in the San
Bernardino area in 1967. On Monday, March 23, 1970 San Bernardino resident, Kathleen
Johns was abducted en route to Petaluma, but escaped with her baby from the car of a man she
would identify from a wanted poster as the Zodiac.

Robert Graysmiths entry for Thursday, December 18, 1969 in Zodiac Unmasked:

Zodiac called the attorneys home, but got his housekeeper instead. [Conversation quoted in
FBI report 9-49911-88, January 14, 1970.] She explained that the white-maned attorney was in
Munich, Germany, for a conference of military trial lawyers. I cant wait, said the caller, who
had identified himself as Zodiac. Todays my birthday. Ive got to kill! He hung up abruptly.

On December 18, 1969, Belli recalled, the Zodiac mailed me a brief note wishing me a happy
Christmas. I went off on safari to Africa. But while I was there, the Zodiac, according to my
housekeeper, phoned me several [more] times. (Graysmith, p. 321; Graysmiths own editing
brackets for more)

[Graysmith, Robert. Zodiac Unmasked. New York: Berkley, 2002. (Page refs. to movie tie-in
paperback ed., 2007.)]

Graysmith has in actuality misquoted Melvin Bellis words from the defense attorneys
autobiography and this is a pivotal point that, when corrected, DOES NOT conflict with
Graysmiths theory. Belli never wrote, Zodiac mailed me a brief note, but rather: I was sure
hed call again. He did. On December 18, 1969, the Zodiac sent me a brief note wishing me a
happy Christmas [My bold and italics]. Theres a semantic difference: Belli may be using
sent here as a synonym for call because its logical that since he often traveled and had a
housekeeper to answer his phone, he would remember receiving a Zodiac telephone message in
the form of a written note. Moreover, Belli likely would have read (at least a partial notation of)
Det. Bill Armstrongs and/or the FBIs written report (i.e., transcript for his verification), which I
have quoted below [see paragraph in CAPS]. The reason that Melvin Belli didnt write mailed
was because he never had any evidence of a postal correspondence from the Zodiac on the
subject date. Law enforcement to this day has no evidence of a mailing on such a date; Michael
Butterfields ZodiacKillerFacts.com has no evidence of a mailing on such a date.

I have shown that Melvin Belli (with R. B. Kaiser) makes at least four indisputable errors when
referring to the facts of the Zodiac evidence: Objection 1 and Objection 2the dates &
chronology of the Zodiacs written correspondence; Objection 3the Zodiacs own victim
count; and lastly, Objection 4the absence of any (suspected) 1967 San Bernardino Zodiac
murder victim. Here we have clear evidence in his autobiographically published words that
celebrated defense attorney, Melvin Belli, was forgetting some of the finer details on the Zodiac,
details that while seemingly trivial in 1976, are crucial today! And they are crucial not so much
to incriminate a suspect (although this would indeed be additional circumstantial evidence), but
rather, to prevent Michael Butterfield and his ilk with their own misleading agenda from
attempting to eliminate from the list, a suspect who remains viable.

FACT: Multiple telephone calls were placed to Melvin Bellis 1228 Montgomery St. address
by a caller (or callers) claiming to be the Zodiac and these calls fell on days around the date
(1969, Dec. 20) of receiving an authenticated letter from the Zodiac, which letter enclosed a
bloodied swatch of shirt from victim, Paul Stine.

FACT: Melvin Belli is the one who, one year later, states to the San Antonio Express that his
housekeeper has had more conversations with the man than I.

FACT: Melvin Belli is the one who writes in his autobiography, December 18, 1969
regarding a call again [Bellis exact words] placed to his residence almost six-and-a-half years

So we have to ask ourselves: if December 18 does not appear in any of the Zodiacs writings
or in postal stamps upon any of the Zodiacs envelopes, then why was December 18, 1969 on
Bellis mind? Perhaps even in his notes? Apparently important enough to transcribe to the
page when he came to write and publish his autobiography (over six years later) in 1976?

Melvin Belli, The King of Torts was no slouch as far as detailed note-taking (Dictaphones,
trial reportage, etc.) was concerned, and as a selection of his works: Modern Trials (in 6 vols.),
Modern Damages (in 6 vols.), and Trial and Tort Trends (in 15 vols.) can attest.

The specific date is important enough for Melvin Belli to have recalled and recorded because
Bellis residence (i.e., his housekeeper) DID in all likelihood receive a contact from the Zodiac
on that month and day just not a written one.

Michael Butterfield would have us believe that Robert Graysmith conjured up the date
December 18 to direct more circumstantial weight to suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen who was
born on December 18, 1933. A skeptic might remind us that any given day is the birthday of
someone. Yes, but how many have that one and are on the list (arguably at the top) of remaining
prime suspects in the Zodiac serial murder case? Melvin Belli was the one who determined that
December 18 held significance for his exchange with the Zodiac killer. Belli published his
autobiography in 1976ten years before Graysmiths Zodiac (1986)and twenty-six years
before Zodiac Unmasked (2002). Robert Graysmith neither whispered dates into Melvin Bellis
ear nor guided the defense attorneys pen.

Robert Graysmiths entry for Sunday, June 8, 1971 in Zodiac Unmasked:

Zodiac seemed irritated at Melvin Belli. But why? Recall that on Thursday, December 18, 1969,
Zodiac rang the attorneys housekeeper and remarked that today was his birthday. Two days
later, December 20, a letter from Zodiac arrived at Bellis office. The FBI quoted that
conversation in report 9-49911-88:


Keep in mind that Allen had been questioned by Lynch two months before this call and been let
go. Not until his interrogation at the refinery twenty months later would he be a viable suspect.
Zodiac had felt comfortable in giving his actual birthdayDecember 18.
December 18 was Arthur Leigh Allens birthday. (p. 324; Graysmiths own italics)

Graysmiths Sources: Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Files, Interviews:

FBI report 9-49911-88 (January 14, 1970). Quotes conversation between Bellis housekeeper
and Zodiac, December 18, 1969. (p. 461)

[Graysmith, Robert. Zodiac Unmasked. New York: Berkley, 2002. (Page refs. to movie tie-in
paperback ed., 2007.)]


Visit the following linked thread to read several of Michael Butterfields chicanery- and
pettifoggery-filled rants, replete with ad hominem abusive fallacies ( la mode de Butterfield)
targeting published author, Robert Graysmith. Yes, among other things, Butterfield is a
pettifogger! It simply beggars belief how heto this dayhas managed to attract any followers
(who are these people?) or how legitimate search engines and on-line encyclopedias would
assign any credible ranking to his Web site(s)?

Michael Butterfield was a visiting poster on the thread titled, graysmith inaccuracies (2 pages)
initiated Aug 30, 2007 on the Zodiackiller.com message board.


Lets examine a few samples here . . .

I didnt hear about the Belli call - Graysmith presented this revelation in his book as if it were
fact. He cited an FBI report by number and stated, without ANY OTHER SOURCE CITED, that
the call occurred on Allens birthday, December 18, 1969. The FBI report in question states that
the call was reported to the FBI by SFPD on instant date a phrase that means todays date.
The FBI report Graysmith cited is dated January 14, 1970. Unless one believes that SFPD
waited one month to report his seemingly important development, common sense dictates that
the call occurred on or shortly before January 14 1970, and not on December 18, 1969. . . . [Mon
Feb 04, 2008, 2:09 pm; Post subject titled: credibility]

Wrong Butterfield! Melvin Belli himself, in his autobiography published way back in 1976,
states that December 18 is a significant date insofar as the communication timeline between
him and the Zodiac. In fact, Belli produces this date immediately after stating: I was sure hed
call again. He did. [My italics and bold]


In the Zodiac files released to the public, ON INSTANT DATE is not frequently used FBI
terminology. Here, this phrase is modifying INSPECTOR ARMSTRONG and refers to
Armstrongs delivery of the info NOT the incident date per the TELEPHONICALLY
CONTACTED. Note how Michael Butterfield plays on a logical fallacy to speciously lure
readers into his misleading interpretation. Butterfield doesnt want to entertain the possibility of
any Zodiac contact of Bellis residence on December 18; he knows that it would surely
destabilize the Butterfield agenda; so he plays a devils advocate: If you believe this alleged call
seemingly important, posits Butterfield, then how can you justify making the inference that the
police waited one month?

Well, Michael Butterfield, if you truly examined the FBI files of which you claim to be such an
expert, you would discover that Armstrong had a full plate and more with his requests of the FBI
for suspect inquiries and fingerprint matches on the days and weeks in question. Today, looking
back, a my birthday call obviously sounds like a potentially revealing piece of suspect info,
with the benefit of scrutinizing one prime suspect out of thousands of leads, tips (and crazies)
back in the daythat is, with the benefit of hindsight. Realistically, Armstrong would have
required more time to examine the housekeepers statement and to confer with Melvin Belli, who
was not easy to reach at this time, as he was either making final travel arrangements or actually
overseas. Plausibly: (1) Armstrong placed the subject call within the context of all Zodiac
correspondence descending upon 1228 Montgomery St. around that time; (2) he combined the
my birthday call report with a complete packet of additional Zodiac evidence for the FBI,
hence the delay, hence the INSTANT date.

No, Michael Butterfield, Melvin Bellis housekeeper does not receive a call she suspects from
the Zodiac then relate this to the city police who in turn make certain Det. Armstrong has the
witness report who in turn then informs his contacts in the FBI, so that PRESTO! A Zodiac
my birthday call gets recorded in an FBI file . . . all within the INSTANT span of 24 hours!
What were they using? Twitter? Butterfield, try a bit harder not to look like such a chump!

What common sense dictates is that Michael Butterfield desperately peddles a distortion of the
facts, manufactures evidence to further his narcissistic claim to relevance in the Zodiac case
amateur community, while he aims to bolster his ad hominem attacks on published author,
Robert Graysmith.

I do not offer conjecture, I offer facts and conclusions based on facts. . . . [Sun Feb 03, 2008,
11:46 am; Post subject titled: A couple of things that are clearly not true]

Melvin is dead and therefore unavailable for comment. However, he does speak to us in his own
way - note his own failure to mention this incredible revelation in any of his books or media
interviews over the years. For a guy who was happy to tell anyone and everyone that the Zodiac
sent him a lot of letters, and lot of cryptic drawings and so forth (paraphrase), youd think hed
remind people that the Zodiac had actually telephoned his home and revealed his date of birth.
[Mon Feb 04, 2008, 2:09 pm; Post subject titled: credibility]

For a guy like Michael Butterfield who claims to offer conclusions based on facts, youd think
he would take time to read what Melvin Belli wrote and not fabricate details with the fatuous
excuse of the paraphrase in order to bias readers in favor of his revisionist history, grossly
unsupported accusations and childish personal attacks.

As I said, virtually everything Graysmith has ever written or said is pure BS - in fact, were I to
bump into him on the street and he said, Hey - youre Michael Butterfield, I would still stop to
check my drivers license to be certain. An old journalism adage reads, If your mother says she
loves you, check it out. Well, in this instance, if Graysmith told you that he had a mother, Id
still check it out. [Sat Feb 02, 2008, 8:41 am; Post subject: Inaccuracies is a euphemism]

Observe how Michael Butterfield time and again (read: neurotically) chooses the ad hominem
abusive approachdemonstrated perfectly here by the preceding quote. Questioning identities . .
. journalism adages about mothers and love . . . are combined with manifest professional
jealousies targeting a bona fide author, Robert Graysmith, who is a successful writer and actually
has his books published. Really . . . if anyone reading this bumps into Michael Butterfield on the
street and he tells you he has a mother and a fatherPlease recommend that en famille they
board the next Vienna-bound flight to seek a qualified therapist preferably one specializing in
the Freudian psychoanalytic school.

I would add one note: I think people need to start accepting the fact that Graysmith was full of
crap from the very beginning. His first book was filled with outright lies, distortions,
exaggerations and worse which cannot be blamed on bad sources or erroneous news accounts.
His attempts to change the facts to make Allen look guilty were blatant and intentional. Robert
Graysmith never had any journalistic integrity and he has been doing nothing but exploiting
this case (at the expense of the truth) since the very beginning.

And ZODIAC UNMASKED is one of the most factually inaccurate, dishonest and poorly
written books in the history of true crime. Even Graysmiths fans thought it was awful . . .
[Sat Jul 23, 2011, 4:49 pm; Michael Butterfield from his post on page two of the thread, Bob
Graysmith and me . . . at Zodiac Killer Facts Forum Zodiac Media Books]

Michael Butterfield is in the business of letting his mouth (and keyboard) write checks that his
ass cant cash! Is there anyone still placing stock or investing in this egomaniacal fraud?

[S]o any assessment of the case against the suspect MUST include thorough scrutiny of his
accuser. [Sat Feb 02, 2008, 8:41 am; Post subject: Inaccuracies is a euphemism]

If he cared about his credibility, or the victims, or the truth, hed just stay home and keep his
mouth shut. As of this writing, he is apparently unwilling to grant us such peace.
[Mon Feb 04, 2008, 2:09 pm; Post subject titled: credibility]

How appropriate for Michael Butterfield to provide the measure by which we can now
fairly evaluate: Michael Butterfield!