Steve Hodel Speaks at the South Pasadena Library

This past Thursday, Steve Hodel, author of "Black Dahlia Avenger: A Genius for Murder" and "Most Evil: Avenger, Zodiac, and the Further Serial Murders of Dr. George Hodel", spoke at the public library in South Pasadena, California. In the former book, Hodel makes the case that his deceased father, George Hodel, was the elusive killer responsible for L.A.'s most infamous unsolved murder, that of Elizabeth Short, better known as the Black Dahlia. In the latter book, the author continued his speculation to suggest, among other things, that his father was the Zodiac. During the event on Thursday, Steve Hodel discussed the content of his two books and participated in a question and answer session. The venue of the library was especially apropos in that the location was mere miles from the house in which the accused father had grown up.

I haven't read Steve Hodel's books. I don't know if his father likely was Elizabeth Short's murderer or not. What I can say is that it is highly improbable that his father was the Zodiac. Age alone makes it highly improbable - George Hodel was approximately 60 during the Zodiac's heyday. Contemporaneous eyewitness age estimates put the Zodiac in the age range of 35-40 at the time. Certainly, the actual age could be outside of the range by some number of years in either direction, but 60 is a real stretch.

Perhaps I will get around to reading one or both of these books at some point. If you've read them or attended Steve Hodel's talk on Thursday (or any other time) perhaps you'd like to tell us about it in the comments.

Michael Cole


  1. cherylboker 5 July, 2011 at 02:14 Reply

    dear mr. hodel: i am almost finished with the black dahlia avenger and i am in agreement with you that your father developed a real taste for murder. perhaps, it was his high i.q. and the lack of most recent police technology that kept him just one step ahead of the l.a. police. i don’t think they would deliberately harbor a criminal, but as you know without enough evidence a murderer can slip away. (ex, o.j. simpson) i have not started your second book but i have a great deal of respect for you as a writer and a policeman. sincerely,cheryl boker

    • Steve Hodel 29 October, 2011 at 17:59

      Hi Cheryl: Thanks for the kind words. Always appreciated.

      As to the reference regarding my father’s age. As indicated in my book MOST EVIL because of the age factor I would never have considered my father as a possible suspect. It was only when I discovered that Zodiac was described as “A Male 35-45 years” and officer Fouke described him to be at the “high end” of that age span, along with the fact that my father was 61 but looked to be in his late-Forties, that I began to investigate the case. The photo of George Hodel taken included was taken in the 1960s and shows how he would have appeared. Clearly he looks to be much younger than his actual chronological age and in my opinion has a strong resemblance to the SFPD composite. Keep in mind the teenage witnesses saw him from a hundred feet away, in the dark of night looking down from the second story of a residence. Best Regards, Steve

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