As the notorious "Zodiac," Heriberto Seda, a ponytailed Bible quoting oddball, had to kill his victims because, "they were bad. They were evil people". He terrorized New York City with two crime sprees -- a short summer ordeal in 1990 and a prolonged one spanning from 1992 to 1993 -- that left three dead and five wounded. A consummate media whore, Heriberto picked his moniker from the elusive "Zodiac Killer" who stalked San Francisco between 1966 and 1974 and claimed to have killed more than 37 people. He also sent letters to the police boasting of a demented plot to slaughter people purposefully selected by their astrological sign, one for each of the dozen signs. At first, the police thought it was a hoax.
On March 8, 1990, he proved them wrong. Heriberto, wearing a ski mask shot Mario Orosco, a Scorpio, in the back and left him for dead. 21 days later, he attacked German Montenedro, a Gemini, who also survived. On May 31, 1990, he attacked Joseph Proce, a Taurus, who died in the hospital three weeks later. A note found near him bore a pie-shaped picture with the symbols for the signs of the first three victims and a message that read: "Zodiac -- Time to die!" The fourth victim, Larry Parham, a homeless man, was shot while sleeping on a bench in Central Park on June 21. Subsequently he told the police that a stranger had asked him about his astrological sign a few days before the shooting. Another note with Parham's astrological sign was found near the crime scene. On that note, police discovered a single fingerprint that was later used to identify Heriberto as the star crossed killer.
After a few letters to the media nothing was heard of "Zodiac" until August 10, 1992 when he stabbed Patricia Fonte, a Leo, 100 times raising his body count to two dead. About a year later, on June 4, 1993, he shot James Weber, a Libra, in the leg while he was walking. On July 20, he crept up on John DiAcone, a homeless Virgo, and shot him to death at point-blank range. On October 2 he shot Diane Ballard, a Taurus, and left her partially paralyzed.
It was not until a letter sent to The New York Post in August of 1994 that these attacks were linked to the "Zodiac" rampage of 1990. At first authorities were dubious that the letter was from the same attacker. However police concluded that it was not a hoax but were unsure if it was written by the same person or someone who knew of the assaults. Fittingly, the saliva tused to lick the envelope flap and "Love" postage stamp on letters to The Post will be used to identify Seda as the writer.
Authorities said that Seda, a deeply religious man obsessed with weaponry and the teachings of the Bible, was angry with his 17-year-old sister, Gladys Reyes, for associating with disreputable types. Apparently Gladys wouldn't reason and he shot her in the back. According to Sgt. Joseph Herbert: "He was mad at his sister because she was hanging around with the wrong people, drug dealers, troublemakers -- and he didn't like that." Neighbors said that Seda abhorred drug dealers and used to tip off police officers assigned to the neighborhood about who was trafficking in drugs. They also said that he recently stood in the middle of the street and declared: "I'm going to start killing. I'm going to start killing because I'm not getting no sex."
During the June 18, 1996, stand-off, Seda fired numerous rounds at police barricades and before giving himself up. When he surrendered he placed 13 homemade zip-guns in a bucket lowered from the building's roof. A cache of weaponry, pipe bombs, devil worship books, crossbows, knives and bomb-making manuals was later found at his apartment elsewhere in the city. During the siege, Heriberto wore what appeared to be a helmet or saucepan on his head.
Sergeant Herbert, who had been involved in the intensive manhunt for the "Zodiac" killer, recognized the writing and symbols Seda used after the shootout while writing his confession. At once, he ran a check of his fingerprints through the police computer and matched one to the one found at the scene of the 1990 attack in Central Park, and another one to one found on a 1994 letter mailed to The New York Post. On June 24, 1998, Seda was convicted for murdering three people and wounding one other, and recieved a life sentence.