Arthur Leigh Allen

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Arthur Leigh Allen

Arthur Leigh Allen (December 18th 1933 - August 26th 1992) was an American convicted Pedophile most famous for being the prime suspect for the Zodiac Killer. Allen grew up in Vallejo, Calif. and graduated from Vallejo High in 1950. He attended Vallejo College, majoring in liberal arts. He received his associate of arts degree in 1957. Allen also attended Cal Poly State College in San Luis Obispo, Calif., majoring in elementary education. He received his bachelor's degree in 1960.

During the 50s Allen joined the navy and was arrested for disturbing the peace as the result of an altercation with a man called Ralph Spinelli. These two factors would be used as evidence for his connection to the Zodiac Killer.

From 1966-1968: Allen taught at Valley Springs Elementary in Valley Springs, Calif. His teaching career ended when he was fired for molesting a student. After this incident he had to move back in with his parents due to not being able to get a job.

Starting in 1971 Allen became a suspect in the Zodiac case. In his initial interview he brought up things unprompted, such as having bloody knives the day of the Lake Berryessa attack and being a fan of the book The Most Dangerous Game, a book Zodiac referenced in his letters.

In September 27th 1974, Allen was arrested by the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department on a charge of child molesting. This was also the year Zodiac stopped writing letters. In March 14th 1975, after pleading guilty, Allen began serving his sentence at Atascadero (Calif.) State Hospital, and in August 31st 1977 Allen completed his sentence and was released from Atascadero.

During the early 90s Allen was publicly named as a Zodiac suspect, it was also during this time he did several interviews professing his innocence.

In July 1992, Zodiac victim Mike Mageau picked Allen out of a police photo lineup, saying "That's him! He's the man who shot me!" On August 26th 1992, Police came to charge Arthur Leigh Allen, only to find him on the floor, dead from a heart attack. He was 58 and had been suffering from diabetes and heart problems.

Connection to The Zodiac Killer

  • Zodiac killed at Lake Herman Road, Blue Rock Springs and Lake Berryessa, areas Allen was familiar with. Serial Killers often operate in areas they are familiar with.
  • Allen owned the same ammunition used to kill the first victims David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen.
  • Zodiac survivor, Michael Mageau, described the car Zodiac drove as brown, possibly a corvair. Allen's friend was trying to sell a brown corvair at the time, Allen often had permission to use this car multiple times.
  • Allen probably knew Zodiac victim Darlene Ferrin, she worked less than a mile from where he lived and apparently she knew someone creepy called Lee, and Allen was known by his middle name. Allen's friend Don Cheney even said Allen was fond of someone who worked at this restaurant. Darlene even seemed to know who Zodiac was, appearing scared when she saw his car.
  • Allen was found to have a knife exactly like the one used in the Lake Berryessa attack.
  • On the Lake Berryessa attack Zodiac left footprints. They were made 10 size Wing Walker Boots, Allen was this foot size and owned a pair of those boots.
  • He was in the navy as Zodiac was believed to have been in the Navy as well due to the wing walker boots and code making.
  • Night Club Owner Ralph Spinelli said that before cab driver Paul Stine was killed Allen confessed to being Zodiac and would go out and prove it by killing a cabbie, explaining why Paul Stine's murder was so different from the other victims.
  • Allen was fired from his school teaching job for molesting students and Zodiac threatened to kill school children, possibly anger at the school.
  • Zodiac probably got his name and logo from a certain type of watch, and Allen happened to have one of these watches.
  • Allen's friend Don Cheney said Allen made many strange statements leading up to Zodiac making himself known-
  1. He would like to kill couples at random.
  2. He would taunt the police with letters detailing his crimes.
  3. He would sign the letters with the cross-circle symbol from his watch.
  4. He would call himself "Zodiac."
  5. He would wear make-up to change his appearance.
  6. He would attach a flashlight to the barrel of his gun in order to shoot at night.
  7. He would fool women into stopping their cars in rural areas by claiming they had problems with their tires, then loosen their lug nuts and eventually take them captive
  • Allen's favorite book was the Most Dangerous Game, a book Zodiac referenced in his letters.
  • It was revealed Allen had codes with symbols identical to those on Zodiac's codes.
  • Zodiac and Allen both spelled Christmas as "Christmass"
  • Allen was Ambidextrous explaining why his handwriting didn't match Zodiac's.
  • Allen had others lick his stamps, explaining why the DNA collected from the licked stamp from one of Zodiac's letters didn't match.
  • In a police interview Allen, unprompted, said that on the day of the Lake Berryessa attack he had bloody knives in his car which he used to kill a chicken.  
  • After Allen was interviewed by Police in 1971, Zodiac stopped writing letters for 3 years. After the last Zodiac letters in 1974 Allen was arrested for child molestation.
  • A video tape in Allen's home was found, it featured all TV interviews about the Zodiac at the time.
  • Allen had bombs and diagrams for bombs, similar to the diagrams Zodiac sent in his letters.
  • In the 70s Zodiac Victim Bryan Hartnell was taken to see Allen in his place of work, he said Allen's size and voice were the same as the man who attacked him and killed his girlfriend. However, in a 2007 documentary Hartnell has said he's never heard Zodiac's voice since the attack.
  • Michael Mageau, after looking at a photo line up for 20 seconds pointed to Allen and said "That's him! That's the man who shot me!"


Arthur Leigh Allen in 1960
Arthur Leigh Allen in a 1961 School photo
Arthur Leigh Allen in 1966
Arthur Leigh Allen's Driver License
1967 or 1968 School Photo of Arthur Leigh Allen
Arthur Leigh Allen's 1977 Mugshot
Arthur Leigh Allen in 1978
Arthur Leigh Allen in 1979
Arthur Leigh Allen in a 1991 interview, 1 year before his death