I am using the information found on this page: Gaikowski Evidence Page
I have no pet suspect or agenda other than to scrutinize the Gaikowski connection. Much of the "evidence" against Gaikowski is not evidence at all and has pretty logical explanations. I will try to go in order as it is presented on the evidence page link above.
1. Army medics were trained to rip clothing to use as bandages. Gaikowski was trained as an Army medic therefore knew how to rip a shirt. This assumes that an adult who graduated high school wouldn't know how to rip a shirt and that special training is required. Neither of these points are valid. Sure it is hard to rip a piece off the tail of a shirt if its on a hanger or laying on a bed/chair. If you put a 170lb body inside the shirt and then try to rip it, it is much easier as the weight holds the shirt while you pull on it. Furthermore there is no evidence that the shirt was used as a bandage. It is pretty clear it was taken as a trophy or proof that the person writing the letters was in fact the killer or both.
2. Darlene Ferrin married January 1, 1966 and moved to Albany, NY. Gaikowski knew Ferrin and must have followed her to Albany. The evidence presented is a postcard Gaikowski mailed from South Dakota with a post date of JAN 1966. In the postcard Gaikowski does not say his destination was Albany. In fact he states he is on a "2431 mile journey east". Albany, NY is 3095 miles from Martinez, CA if you pass through South Dakota (90 Interstate) and 2910 miles if you don't pass through South Dakota. According to Gaikowski's own postcard his destination probably was not Albany, NY. Toledo, OH is much closer to 2431 miles from Martinez, CA passing through South Dakota and right off the 90 Interstate. How does he get to Albany? Who knows but it appears it was not his original destination. I was able to find a byline by Richard Gaikowski in the February 15, 1967 edition of The Knickerbocker News. There is no doubt he worked there in February 1967. The fact that it is the same building as Darlene Ferrin's husband is not really all that interesting. Did Darlene Ferrin visit her husband at work? That would have been highly unlikely in 1967. There is still no direct link between Darlene Ferrin and Gaikowksi.
3. From 1969-71 Gaikowski was a member of the anti police, pro violence, counterculture newspaper and Good Times Commune. An undated editorial, "Letter to Kesey", with no author supporting the use of violence is presented as evidence that Gaikowski is into violence. Maybe he wrote it and maybe he didn't but there are other issues with this article. First the article references the Kent State Shootings which occurred on May 4, 1970. Secondly it addresses Ken Kesey's response to Timothy Leary's statement that he is armed. Leary made this statement after he was broken out of jail by the Weather Underground on September 15, 1970. The editorial "Letter to Kesey" was probably written sometime after September 18, 1970 (the date of Leary's statement). Paul Stine was the last confirmed Zodiac victim almost a year earlier in October 1969. If we accept that Kathleen Johns was abducted by the Zodiac then that would still have been 6 months prior to the editorial "Letter to Kesey" which is supposed to prove that Gaikowski is a violent person.
4. The Zodiac letter from August 4, 1969 makes reference to the "good times" he is having in Vallejo. There is no evidence that he is referencing the Good Times Commune which was not located in Vallejo. If the mere mention of the phrase "good times" is evidence then CBS should be investigated for producing a sitcom with that title. More on CBS later.
5. As of January 1969 the Good Times newspaper were running violent works of fiction that were a blueprint for the future Zodiac crimes. Excerpts from a serialized novel titled "Berkeley Guns" by Lenny Heller is used as evidence. The Good Times newspaper did not exist in January 1969 as it was still the San Francisco Express Times. Marvin Garson was still the editor and would remain the editor until March 25. The "Berkeley Guns" excerpts were about revolutionaries killing cops and using bombs. In fact a member of the Express Times staff, Marilyn Buck, would associate with the Black Liberation Army and the Weather Underground which was involved in bombing police stations and targeting police officers in San Francisco and around the country. Both the Express Times and the Weather Underground were infiltrated by the FBI during its COINTELPRO program. To say that violence was supported by the Express Times and Good Times is true but it was revolutionary violence associated with the radical groups that formed out of the civil rights and anti-war movements. These were decidedly different than the Zodiac murders in that they almost always targeted cops, soldiers or government workers and institutions.
6. Wednesday was the production day for Good Times and Zodiac never mailed a letter on a Wednesday. Zodiac mailed 15 letters between 1969 and 1973. There are 7 possible days to mail a letter (Sunday counts because you can drop the letter in the box on Sunday). So if we divide 15 by 7 we get 2.14. That gives us a ratio of 2.14:7. Everyday of the week the Zodiac had a 2.14:7 shot at mailing a letter. If we turn that into a percent (2.14/7) we get 30%. There was a 30% chance that the Zodiac would mail a letter on a particular day of the week. There was also a 70% chance he would not mail a letter on a particular day of the week. The odds support the fact that no letters were mailed on a Wednesday. Furthermore some Zodiac letters were printed neatly and some contained ciphers. These were not letters that could be written quickly. There were probably several drafts of some of the letters and ciphers. It is reasonable to assume that some letters may have taken a day or more to write. Therefore a letter mailed on a Thursday could have taken all day Wednesday to write.
7. The "Good Times Switchboard" was located only yards from Paul Stine's house. Gaikowski must have known Stine or at least was famillar with him. An article titled "gaik's short bits" is shown as evidence. In "gaik's short bits" there is a request by Dunbar Aitkens for free books to be donated to The Free Book Commune. The books are to be left at "1830 Fell (Switchboard)." Two things here: first the commune referenced is the Free Book Commune not the Good Times Commune. Secondly the word switchboard is capitalized in parentheses as it refers to a specific place named the Switchboard. Gaikowski would be very famillar with the use of capitalization and its meaning. What is being called the Good Times Switchboard is actually the Haight-Ashbury Switchboard. 1830 Fell Street was rented by Al Rinker as the place for his "switchboard" idea. The Switchboard was established as a messaging service for the city's expanding population of young people drawn by the media coverage of the Summer of Love. Quickly the original idea changed to providing services and help to the "hippies". The Switchboard essentially became a social services center for young homeless people. Al Rinker published his own newspaper at one point which sold for 25 cents out of the Switchboard. The San Francisco Examiner Times and later Good Times would have been sold out of the Switchboard. The writers and contributors to Good Times and the volunteers at the Switchboard travelled in the same circles, attempted to reach the same people, and absolutley were in contact with each other. This does not mean that the Haight Ashbury Switchboard was in any way owned and operated by Good Times. The Switchboard had a wholly different mission than Good Times. The Switchboard was a specific idea and place and not an actual switchboard. Gaikowski and his readers would have known what Switchboard was and it would not have been mistaken for an office of the Good Times newspaper by anyone in the counterculture/youth culture of San Francisco. The Switchboard continued to operate into the 1990s but at different locations.
8. On the same day as the Zodiac's three "Rush to editor" letters were mailed, Good Times magazine had a cover that was split into thirds. A picture of the Good Times cover with three people on it (Seale, Fonda, & Satchi Dananda) is offered as evidence. Remarkably a very simillar cover appeared on the January 20, 1968 Rolling Stone Magazine. It was split into thirds and each performer was refered to by only their first name (Donovan, Jimi, & Otis). It is very possible that the Good Times cover was influenced by the Rolling Stone cover and had nothing to do with Zodiac and his 3 letters.
9. In one of the Zodiac's ciphers are the symbols that spell "GYKE". Gaikowski used the nickname Gike or Gaik. The purpose of a cipher is to hide the actual message. If Zodiac was really trying to be cute with the symbols to spell his nickname then why not just use GAIK or GIKE. The other issue is pronunciation. Are we sure Gike was pronounced "guyk" or was it "guykee". What about Gaik? That could be pronounced "gayk" or "guyk".
10. The Good Times newspaper used sensationalist "Zodiac Killer" headlines that were out of place. The Astrology section of Good Times with the title "Zodiac Strikes Again" is shown as evidence. While the headline is sensationalist it is also ironic and sarcastic since it actually applies to astrological and tarot forecasts and not a story about the Zodiac serial killer.
11. The Good Times newspaper ran free ads for the Mikado which was a known favorite of the Zodiac. As evidence is a list of 3 shows under the heading DRAMA; A performance of King Lear, The Lamplighters production of the Mikado, and an Arlo Guthrie concert. Under the DRAMA heading is the FILM heading and a list of upcoming films and show times. What is being called an ad is actually a list of upcoming events. All newspapers run these types of listings in their entertainment sections usually on the weekends. There is no evidence that the Zodiac was a Shakespeare or Arlo Guthrie fan. A side note about the Mikado. Its use appeared in an episode of Magnum P.I. that was aired on the CBS network. Could a CBS network executive have been the Zodiac and worked in subtle clues to prove it? This is essentially the technique being used to point the finger at Gaikowski.
12. Gaikowski was commited to the Napa State Hospital and then the Mount Zion Hospital in 1971 which would correspond to the silence from Zodiac in the form of his letters. The absence of letters is not evidence that someone actually wrote those letters.
13. Nancy Slover identified Gaikowski's voice as the voice of the Zodiak. This identification came in 1986 from a taped telephone conversation Gaikowski had with someone else. 17 years after the fact is a long time remember the exact tone, pitch, cadence and accent of a person's speech. This identification is interesting nonetheless. If it was followed by some type of physical evidence then Gaikowski would warrant further investigation.
Gaikowski is a person that was around the fringes of the radical groups like the Weather Undergound and the Black Liberation Army. He was a little too old and went to college in the wrong part of the country. He wasn't in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement like Marvin Garson and Dunbar Aitkens. He wasn't the selfless person to establish the Haight-Ashbury Switchboard like Al Rinker. He didn't get arrested at the Convention in Chicago in 68. He seemed to be trying to start a career as a journalist instead. His only brush with the law was on purpose to write a story.
There is physical evidence of the Zodiac's crimes somewhere. There is a piece of Paul Stine's shirt. There is a handgun. There are probably rough drafts of ciphers and letters. There is a knife. There is a costume. There is a finger and palm print. Some of these items could have been burned/destroyed but some are still out there somewhere.
Thanks for reading.