CrimeEditors’ pick

5 Reasons Robert Nichols Could be the Zodiac Killer and 5 Reasons He Probably Isn’t

Why Nichols Probably Isn’t the Zodiac Killer

  1. Different Handwriting

Author James Renner, who has been reporting on Nichols’ story for years, was able to obtain copies of letters the man had written. While in some instances both the Zodiac and Nichols used similar evenly spaced block lettering, Twitter sleuths were quick to point out that Nichols’ lettering had a bit of a slant and that the way the men wrote the letter M is noticeably different.

2. Nichols’ Son’s Statement

Local Cleveland Journalist Phil Trexler was able to speak to Nichols’ son who currently resides in the state of Ohio. According to Trexler, Nichols’ son does not believe that his father was the Zodiac Killer and instead went to great lengths to conceal his identity in order to dodge paying child support.

3. No Known History of Violence

Nichols’ son described Nichols as a bit odd and eccentric, but kind. So far no reports have indicated that Nichols ever had a history of violent tendencies. Records show no criminal history for either Robert Ivan Nichols or his assumed name, Joseph Newton Chandler III.

4. Alleged to Have Been a Sexual Deviant

Renner has suggested that Nichols was a sexual deviant. According to documents he was able to obtain, Nichols went to the ER after suffering serious lacerations to his penis in February of 1989. Nichols reportedly told staff that he had injured his penis while attempting to masturbate with a vacuum cleaner. If Nichols was a sexual deviant, as Renner claims, then if he had been responsible for any murders he most likely would have raped or sexually assaulted his victims. The Zodiac Killer is widely considered by experts to have been a thrill killer and there are no reports of the unknown slayer sexually assaulting any of his victims.

5. Nichols Didn’t Become Joseph Newton Chandler III Until 1978

With the Zodiac’s known attacks and murders beginning in 1968 and ending in 1970, it would seem unlikely that someone attempting to dodge suspicion would wait nearly a decade to assume a new identity. While it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been wrong about something, someone wanted for crimes as serious as the Zodiac Killer’s would most likely have changed their identity upon relocating to a new area in order to start fresh, if they decided to change their identity at all.

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