Michael Butterfield on Outlaw Radio

Last week, Michael Butterfield discussed the case of the Zodiac Killer on the show True Crime Uncensored (part of Outlaw Radio), hosted by author Burl Barer. The first minute or so is a pretty good microcosm of the full interview. It's plagued with some technical difficulties — mostly in the form of Michael not being able to hear what's being said — and there's a subtle but undeniable element of disrespect on the part of the host and cohosts, both toward Michael in particular and the subject in general. If you can get past these shortcomings, the interview is a pretty standard discussion of the Zodiac Killer. Have a listen and share your thoughts in the comments below, if you're so inclined.

The Zodiac Killer -- A Dying Industry? Michael Butterfield isn't getting rich. by Burl Barer on Mixcloud

Michael Cole


  1. Richard Grinell 18 October, 2015 at 02:34 Reply

    Couldn’t agree more, the whole interview came over with overtones of triviality thrown in and often with murders committed long ago it appears respect to the families of the victims is not in the forefront of peoples minds as they would be for current acts of brutality. It again provided nothing new, because the interviews always tend to a public that need to be filled in on the basics of the case, leaving little of interest for veteran Zodiac sleuths. Of course this is no bad thing, because it attracts new people to the case, but obviously leaves the remainder with little of value and this was another such interview. Michael Butterfield handled a rather childish interview well, but was likely inwardly annoyed when the host replied to the possibility of the case being solved with the words “So what.” Those final two words in a nutshell perfectly summed up the mind of an uncaring and unprofessional host with such an insensitive comment.
    What I would like is for a hardened Zodiac researcher to interview Michael Butterfield and give him some really challenging questions, ones that he has likely never been asked. Now that would be a far more interesting interview and like myself have often changed my opinion on one of the crimes when presented with something I once had never contemplated, otherwise researchers become fixed and unbending in their ideas, because they have failed to be pressed on their long held beliefs.

    • Michael Cole
      Michael Cole 18 October, 2015 at 10:37

      Yeah, the “so what?” moment felt especially inappropriate.

      I know sometimes people who are interested in the case (myself included) come across as a bit callous when analyzing various aspects of the crimes abstractly. Of course, it’s not that we are callous; it’s just that abstract analysis of a psychopath necessarily involves discussion of psychopathic behavior, and it’s difficult to always put the discussion of the behavior in a properly respectful context.

      But, just saying “so what?” seems to be a transgression of a different nature. I know it was said to elicit a response from Butterfield, but I feel like there were better ways to ask the question. To be honest, I don’t know or remember who said the line (if it was the host or a co-host), but I was a bit surprised since the host is a true-crime author himself. I would have thought he would be sympathetic to the dynamics of a true crime story.

      Part of the problem with the case of the Zodiac is exactly the issue you mention. Many of the people interested in the case have 10, 20, or more years invested into their beliefs. The objective evidence has changed relatively little over the last nearly-five decades. So, these people are very unlikely to change their mind about much of anything, at least anything of substance.

      I know Michael Butterfield and I disagree on significant aspects of the Zodiac case. Then again, I can’t think of anybody who agrees with me on most or all aspects of the case (to include Mike Kelleher, Tom Voigt, Morf, you, etc.). Ten years ago I cared more about convincing people of my opinions. Today, I just want to document them and keep the public aware of the case. For this reason, I’m happy Michael Butterfield (Morf, Tom, etc.) continue to do interviews like this one.

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