Overview of Paul Stine
Paul Lee Stine was a part-time insurance agent while he was a student at San Francisco State College. He worked diligently toward earning his Ph.D. in English while working as a taxi driver at night with shifts from 9 pm to 5 am to pay his way through college.
On the night of October 11, 1969, Paul was working his night shift as a taxi driver when he was hailed by a man in front of the theater on Geary Street in San Francisco. He was directed to go to the upscale neighborhood of Presidio Heights, specifically to the intersection of Washington and Maple. Paul drove his passenger to this location, but— “for reasons unknown”—he ended up on Washington and Cherry Streets, which was a block away from the intended destination. Paul had no idea his passenger was the Zodiac killer. At this intersection, Paul was shot at point-blank range by the Zodiac who used a 9mm semi-automatic pistol—a pistol that was different from the weapon of choice used in the Blue Rock Springs Park murders.
Across the street, three children, unbeknownst to them, observed the Zodiac in the front seat of Paul’s taxi. They witnessed this man “handling” Paul and called the police to report what they saw; they gave a description of the perpetrator: a white male who was between 25 and 30 years of age that was 5’8” to 5’9” tall with a stocky build, reddish-brown hair that was worn in a crew cut; he wore heavy rimmed glasses and dark clothes. The last thing the children witnessed was the perpetrator walking north on Cherry Street.
Patrol officers Fouke and Zelms were responding to the 911 call when they saw a white male walking east on Jackson Street, but they did not stop or question him because the dispatcher mistakenly identified the perpetrator as an African American male. However, the officers realized that they may have encountered the perpetrator after the description was corrected and “finally broadcast”. At the scene, officer Frank Peda guarded the crime scene while officer Armand Pelissetti discovered the “impression” of bloody fingerprints on the taxi door and Paul lying in the driver’s seat.
Two days later, on the 13th of October, a letter and “a portion” of Paul’s bloody shirt was sent to the San Francisco Chronicle. The letter was from the Zodiac claiming responsibility for Paul’s murder and the murders in the northern Bay area. There was a composite sketch that was created and released of the Zodiac, but the witnesses requested to alter the composite to make it more accurate a few days after the original sketch was released.
Paul was taken from his wife, brother, parents, and friends at the young age of 29. We still do not know the identity of the Zodiac. Do you think you can help change that? Paul’s case is still open; it is being investigated by the FBI San Francisco Office. If you have any information about his case, please contact the San Francisco FBI Office at (415) 553-7400.