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[Podejrzany] James Linthicum

Offline Sam

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James Linthicum aka "sharpsman" - pasjont strzelectwa, modyfikator broni palnej oraz oszust.

Na jego trop wpadl uzytkownik "urik" z forum ZodiacKillerSite.com, wyszukujac fraze, jakiej uzyl Zodiak w 340 (jedno trafienie w Google). Ponizej wklejam tresc jego posta z 3. maja 2021:

"I'm fairly sure we found the Zodiac killer, or rather his early 2000s message-board alias, but I need your help to uncover his real identity using the substantial identifying information provided below (unfortunately, I'm not in the US, no web expert, and incompetent on social media). This is part 2 and a continuation of my Zodiac-puzzle recap, but here with sensitive and specific information concerning an individual. There is an element of probability here too - priors are important - so please bear with me.

The Z13 solution "slaves' slayer" is not only ridiculous, but also illogical. A self-consistent Zodiac (detached from reality or with a macabre sense of humor) would never call himself that: in the Zodiac theology, we are told, people become slaves only when they reach paradise, waiting to serve him. On the other hand, a cold killer trying to hide his identity by roleplaying Zodiac (presumably inspired by meeting or hearing about big bad Zode) may easily come up with such a ridiculous title, as he doesn't believe the theology anyway. And now that we see the structure behind Zodiac's Halloween letter, he seems easily clever enough to avoid detection and live to an old age in plain sight.

So I added to Zodiac's profile:
1. Clever enough to divert his superiority complex into some field he can master, thus never confessing, not even on his deathbed.
2. Left California to travel across many states in the US, especially if episodically killing (hopefully not as many as he bragged about).
3. May have lived to the 1990s and perhaps even 2000s; in particular, the 1986 letter looks authentic to me (but I'm no authority here).
4. Will have a convincing cover story to hide his tracks, diverting from his whereabouts and activity during known Zodiac crimes.

We already have quite the profile (e.g. dyslexic, interest in Norse culture, likely never married, etc.), of which I'll highlight:
5. Hunted game (his term) frequently, carries multiple weapons with him, claims to greatly enjoy hunting challenging game.
6. Good understanding of weapons and paraphernalia including experimenting with at least basic modifications.
7. Had some early familiarity with cattle, where he picked up the cipher symbols and perhaps also the ZF symbol.
8. Self-taught basic cryptographic techniques from a book, likely to be self-taught also in other regards.

In retrospect, I should have combined the above to conclude that he most likely had a successful career in the weapons or hunting industries.

Now, I could see how Zodiac might use "slaves' slayer" when taunting the police, but not in real life, as I can't imagine that he actually believed this stuff. So while the FBI might find "slaves' slayer" mentioned in some obscure communication from the Zodiac era, web searches are not particularly promising. In any case, searching the web for "slaves' slayer" was disappointing: there are surprisingly many web "slaves' slayers" out there, as far back in time as I could find, in clearly unrelated contexts. I found nothing relevant from before, say, 2005.

Then it occurred to me that I never actually heard anyone use the expression "which brings up a point", written by Zodiac in Z340. If this is really a rarely used phrase, and Zodiac happened to use it in some online discussion in the early days of the web, then perhaps we could place additional filters to narrow down the search hits until we find him. 

A web search for the full Z340 expression, "which brings up a point about me", indeed produces zero hits (except in news about Z340):

(You won't get even the above three hits if you add to the search another Z340 filter, say: -"TV show".)

What about the more general expression "which brings up a point about" (i.e. without the "me")? For dates after 2007, this gave me many Google junk-hits on Z340 discussions (I don't know why). But to my great surprise, searching for this precise expression in dates prior to 2005 produces only one result:

This is a message-board discussion about guns! That got me very interested: the probability of randomly stumbling upon a discussion-board post about guns (in the very first try of such an unrelated search) is exceedingly tiny. And with only one hit, there is no need to use filters: we already have a suspect, and can read his posts. Now pause and consider: how many additional consistencies of this suspect with the Zodiac-killer would you need to conclude that he was the Zodiac at a reasonable confidence level? The above arguments suggest to me that we should strive to uncover the identity of this gun enthusiast, even if he had only one post with no additional information. Luckily, that is not the case.


___________________

(Note - text below this line is sensitive and discreet; please do not circulate.)
___________________



The discussion board belongs to RimfireCentral.com, and the specific post was uploaded by user "sharpsman":

Sifting through his posts indicates that this sharpsman was apparently a gun dealer and an avid hunter, active on the board during the years 2002-2006 with 1400 (exactly) posts. The posts show a skilled gun expert, valued in his community, with high technical skills, who built and modified weapons and paraphernalia, and took great pleasure in killing every kind of animal in any way he legally could. In the discussions, he is usually knowledgeable and helpful to his peers, but occasionally he loses his temper and tellingly lashes out.

The posts are mostly technical, focusing on guns and hunting issues I don't understand, so I only skimmed them. But that was enough to find surprisingly many indications that sharpsman is indeed the Zodiac killer. (There is one piece, discussed later, that naively doesn't seem to fit.) Here are my main findings.

sharpsman has been hunting game (his term, used very often) at least since the 1970s:
"I have worked with .22mags off and on for nearly 30 years now and I KNOW you are full of it ... you bonehead" (October 2002);
"That knowledge comes from having owned and shot about 175 different rifles over the last 30 years" (October 2002),

sharpsman has traveled across the US since at least the 1980s:
"Since about 1982, I have hunted PDs in- MT, SD, WY,CO, KS ,OK, TX, UT, AZ and New Mexico.I have also popped a few ground squirrels in Alberta as a "tourist" :mrgreen:" (sic., including Mr. Green).

sharpsman is an excellent marksman, often bragging about his abilities; for example
"I have knocked them off the mound with one shot at 200 to 225 yards,
and showed at least one picture of an animal he killed (images later).

sharpsman likes to experiment and modify guns, ammunition, and scopes (e.g. here and here).

sharpsman has some killing techniques that seem especially cruel:
"I once killed a ground hog with a claw hammer.... Really,15ft away,one shot drop. Several finishing "hits" required..".

sharpsman is self-taught in gun issues, having learned from books:
"When I was teenager, I had to teach myself about the finer points of shooting because NONE of my older relatives were shooters. :( I read a lot of books and I had to ask a LOT of very simple questions of older shooters to learn the ropes..." (purple smiley approximated yellow).

And behold! His father was a rancher and he is very familiar with the cattle business in the west:
"Even though my Dad is a rancher ,he never has been a shooter";
"Even though I grew up in the cattle business and I have spent a lot of my life in the west".

sharpsman knows his Norse culture:
"Believe it or not,the Swastica was used on many pieces of cowboy tack from that era as it was a traditional Norse symbol of power and good luck before Hitler's band of thugs coopted it for their use in the 1930's."

sharpsman knows his pigs... (I don't know what he's referring to here; the police were mentioned earlier but I don't know if relevant):
"Lipstick on a pig is still a pig with lipstick...... ;)" (cyan smiley approximated).

sharpsman seems to conspicuously never mention California, but once, in a humoristic correspondence, mentioned squirrel hunting in San Francisco (seemingly unprovoked, but I don't really understand the context or the humor here):
"Ah,,the dillemas of Squirrel hunting in San Fransisco... :P :arrow:" (pink razz and firing gun icons approximated).

When irritated, the language and attitude of sharpsman resemble those of the Zodiac killer in many respects. A superiority vibe is often present, with aggressive undertones emerging when his view is challenged. Typing is not the same as handwriting, but there is some evidence for dyslexia, especially when irritated: I found higher than normal rates of redundant, duplicate, or swapped letters, often misplaced punctuation marks, and spelling mistakes. For an older man, he shows excessive capitalization and redundant exclamation marks.

After spending some time digging through Zodiac's correspondences, some of sharpsman's posts now felt familiar, albeit much more controlled. You might want to read through his posts to see what I mean; in any case, I must have missed many details (including everything related to weapons or hunting). Following are a few examples of the language sharpsman uses.

Like Zodiac's "fk", sharpsman uses "fig" (probably being more polite here, with his peers):
"(which I don't give a fig about)"";
""I don't give a FIG how much ...".

Like Zodiac's "meanies", sharpsman uses "weanies":
"You .22 mag weanies need to go spew forth your anti 17HMR BS somewhere else..."

sharpsman's superiority complex is apparent in many cases, for example:
"Simple minds come up with simple theories..."

sharpsman likes to play games and scatter clues:
"As for myself, I have some "honey holes" for PDs in Montana and Wyoming that I will NOT devulge...sorry. - I do this for the safety of the prairie dogs. :) My only clue is that anyone with a map and a sharp eye can find them from the highway... ;)" (yellow and cyan smileys approximated).

sharpsman can lose his temper and lash out after his view is challenged:
"YES ,MAG CHECK NEEDS TO GET A CLUE!!!! ...And if he would refrain from slandering ... here are a few HARD FACTS for you .22mag loving pinheads to think about... You guys are all BS... I have worked with .22mags off and on for nearly 30 years now and I KNOW you are full of it... THATS what I meant about "getting a clue"... I do not know ANY magnum 17cal air rifle shooter on the face of the earth that would STAND for any of you boneheads trying to tell him that HIS 17 pellets at 1,100 FPS will NOT kill a Jackrabbit sized animal on down with a killing shot AT THE MUZZLE!...  So,you can surely imagine how SILLY you guys sound trying to tell..."

(At some point I stopped tracking similarities; there must be more in these posts, if you are interested.)

sharpsman's last activity on the board was on 06-01-2006, after which he suddenly vanished.

___________________

In summary, sharpsman is a very strong Zodiac suspect, and it is statistically hard to believe he is unrelated to the Zodiac killer. By his own stories, sharpsman grew up in a ranch in the west, in the cattle business, has been hunting game and clearly enjoying killing animals of all shape and form since at least the 1970s, has been traveling across the US with his multiple and in part modified weapons since at least the 1980s, and shares several of the interests, attitudes, and linguistic characteristics of the Zodiac. If he is not the Zodiac killer, then we have here one of the strangest and most improbable coincidences I can imagine: one of the few innocent individuals with all the above Zodiac-like characteristics simultaneously, just happens to be, by pure coincidence, the only person in the world to upload the rare Z340 expression "which brings up a point about" to the web before 2007. This is why I wrote in the title 'statistically speaking, we found him'. Fortunately, we can now go beyond statistical arguments and uncover sharpsman's true identity, which I'm certain will eventually provide sufficient hard evidence.

___________________


Now let me point out the one and only inconsistency I managed to find between sharpsman's stories and the Zodiac killer: sharpsman claims that he didn't learn to shoot till the mid 1970s, as a kid. Namely,
"I am likewise filling in some of my old 1970s rifles.I learned to shoot in the mid 70's";
"I wish they had been around in the 1970s when I was chasing crows and ghogs as a kid".
I think that sharpsman is lying here, presenting himself as younger than he is, and falsely claiming no gun experience before the mid 1970s as an alibi. This also matches the way he seems to avoid mentioning California, only saying that he has been in "the west". And only once (as far as I can tell; see above) mentioning San-Francisco, apparently caught off guard in some joke I don't get. The cover story about learning to shoot in the 1970s as a kid was probably repeated many times, and not invented especially for the message board.

BTW, sharpsman also describes his terror when first seeing a human near-fatality in 1991:
"The closest I ever came to seeing a possible fatality was at the Chevy Team Challenge match that I shot in in 1991 in Miami Fl.and it scared the hell out of me",
but I obviously don't consider this an inconsistency with a Zodiac killer in hiding. In fact, the Zodiac killer may well have been shocked to see a colleague wounded.

Luckily, it should be possible (for someone more capable than me) to uncover the truth here, and check if sharpsman might have been older than he claimed, present in California at the time of the Zodiac murders, owned in the past the right model+size shoes, or perhaps had a potbelly in late 1969 like Cecelia Ann Shepard described him (presumably not yet disguised) shortly before she died. I'm not sure his appearance will resemble the Zodiac too much, though, because he was clearly smart enough to be able to disguise himself.

As expected, I found no personal information on sharpsman's profile, but there are many personal details in his posts, by which he could presumably be identified even if trying to maintain a cover story. Let me now describe my findings in this regard, but note that I must have missed some points as I skimmed 1400 posts in several hours.

He uploaded several pictures of guns and game (1, 2, 3), which may have identifying metadata, some with handwritten notes (4, 5, 6).

There are stories about sharpsman's early years, but keep in mind that he can be very deceptive:
"I spent all my teenage years sniping GHogs with a .22LR HP rounds in central Maryland on a 500 acre farm";
"I grew up in Howard County...The traffic sucked there 25 years ago..";
"I am the eldest of three boys in my family".

There are posts associating sharpsman with locations, times, and other individuals:
"I shoot in enough wind here in Western Kansas";
"One of my best friends in this world is a current editor for both SAFARI magazine and Guns and Ammo";
"I will have to go Riverton on business sometime this summer... I normally travel the I-25 route up from Denver-Cheyenne,Douglas,Glenrock and then Casper.";
"I have spent several deer/elk and spring bear seasons in the Kalispell,MT area(northfork of the Flat Head River)";
"The first 'yote I ever shot while calling with a rimfire was in central Olkahoma in August of 1985..I was doing bit of pond fishing and early deer scouting with a former ADC federal trapper buddy from college.The ranch was along the northern banks of the Cimmaron river due north of OKC.";
"You obviously did not read the series of articles in the 1980s about the .17 magnum wildcating in Shooting Times.I read them all wehn they came out and also knew Terry Kopp( a gunsmith in MO who also worked with .22mag/17 wildacts)";
"My niece is the oldest grandchild in our family.I have already told my sister-in-law (Jokingly) that I'd have her daughter outshooting her daddy(my brother) by the time she was ten..";
"The man who really tought me to shoot was a very special man.His name was Frank Smoot and he ran the rifle program at the Maryland State 4-H camps for many years.I was there one summer-I was 13 or so and Mr Smoot tought me and (several hundred other kids) the joys of prone shooting with a .22 rifle at 25 yards".

sharpsman outlines some of his skills, education, and occupations:
"I am a trained artist.I have been a painter and sculptor for over 20 years";
"I was atttending college at Okalhoma State U";
"I was an assistant editor of a small outdoor magazine in the early 1990s.I heard a rumor in the late summer of 1991 that Browning would be making the m52 reproductions.I had to call Browning's PR man at the time(Paul Thompson) in Utah".

Note that the above sharpsman may be the same sharpsman who at some point changed his user name to rmulhern (could that be his real name?) on the Shiloh Rifle discussion boards, where he was active during roughly the same years (see for example here), but I didn't carefully read any of those posts. Also note that there are other users called sharpsman, like this younger one, who presumably are not the same guy.

What do you think? Is anyone willing to help?
Note that, as sharpsman has living family and young relatives, discreetness is advisable."
« Ostatnia zmiana: 18/05/21, 13:41 wysłana przez Sam »
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Offline john

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A skąd wiadomo jak "sharpsman" się nazywał? Ktoś go zidentyfikował czy sam go znalazłeś, Sam? I jak pewna jest to informacja?


Offline Sam

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Jest go duzo w necie, sa watki z nim zwiazane na przeroznych forach tematycznych (posty typu: "uwaga, oszust" i tam tez sa dane jego i jego firmy). Wiec nazywal sie tak z duza doza prawdopodobienstwa.

Z tym, ze znalazlem dwa rodzaje zapisu nazwiska: Linthicum oraz Linthicium. Wbrew pozorom, zdaje sie ono dosc popularne (juz na starcie mozna znalezc nie jednego czlowieka o takim imieniu i nazwisku, a co najmniej kilku).
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Offline Sam

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Mysle, ze urik przeprowadzil ciekawy eksperyment, ale nie "teoretycznie namierzyl Zodiaka" (jak stwierdzil w tytule wiadomosci) - a jedynie kogos, kto wydaje sie pasowac do stworzonego przez niego profilu ogolnego. Z tego wzgledu bardziej postanowilem to "wrzucic".

Cytuj
In summary, sharpsman is a very strong Zodiac suspect, and it is statistically hard to believe he is unrelated to the Zodiac killer. By his own stories, sharpsman grew up in a ranch in the west, in the cattle business, has been hunting game and clearly enjoying killing animals of all shape and form since at least the 1970s, has been traveling across the US with his multiple and in part modified weapons since at least the 1980s, and shares several of the interests, attitudes, and linguistic characteristics of the Zodiac. If he is not the Zodiac killer, then we have here one of the strangest and most improbable coincidences I can imagine: one of the few innocent individuals with all the above Zodiac-like characteristics simultaneously, just happens to be, by pure coincidence, the only person in the world to upload the rare Z340 expression "which brings up a point about" to the web before 2007. This is why I wrote in the title 'statistically speaking, we found him'. Fortunately, we can now go beyond statistical arguments and uncover sharpsman's true identity, which I'm certain will eventually provide sufficient hard evidence.
« Ostatnia zmiana: 20/05/21, 15:52 wysłana przez Sam »
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Offline black_99

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Mysle, ze urik przeprowadzil ciekawy eksperyment, ale nie "teoretycznie namierzyl Zodiaka" (jak stwierdzil w tytule wiadomosci) - a jedynie kogos, kto wydaje sie pasowac do stworzonego przez niego profilu ogolnego. Z tego wzgledu bardziej postanowilem to "wrzucic".

I sprawdzono tego "kogoś" czy kolejny nic nie znaczący i wnoszący do sprawy człowiek?


Offline Sam

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Nie sprawdzono. Tylko internetowe sledztwo.
  • Zbrodnia nie może być doskonalsza od człowieka, który ją popełnił.


Offline black_99

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