Heriberto Seda

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Eddie Seda
Born Heriberto Seda
(1967-07-31) July 31, 1967 (age 49)
New York City, New York
Other names The Brooklyn Sniper
The Copycat Zodiac Killer
Faust
The New York Zodiac Killer
Criminal penalty 232 years imprisonment
Conviction(s) Attempted murder
Murder
Killings
Victims 3 killed, 6 wounded
Span of killings
March 8, 1990–October 2, 1993
Country United States
State(s) New York
Date apprehended
June 18, 1996

Heriberto "Eddie" Seda (born July 31, 1967) is an American serial killer who struck New York City from 1990 to 1993. Before being caught on June 18, 1996, Seda killed three people and wounded five others (four critically). Seda is believed to have admired San Francisco’s Zodiac Killer for avoiding capture. Police described Seda, a Brooklyn resident, as a recluse obsessed with guns and the Bible. Seda was formally charged in the case on June 21, 1996, and was convicted in 1998, and sentenced to 232 years imprisonment.

Crimes[edit]

Seda attacked people throughout New York City, sending taunting messages to the police and media after each crime.[1] The messages included codes based on International maritime signal flags, which New York Post journalist Keiran Crowley decoded with the assistance of his father-in-law, a veteran of WWII cryptography and signals intelligence.[1]

The killer's letters to police claimed that he was selecting his victims based on their signs of the Zodiac, and implied he would act only at certain times when specific stars were visible in the night sky. Police consulted a professional astronomer, whose predictions about when the killer would strike proved somewhat accurate.[1] He used an improvised firearm, explaining in his messages that the lack of rifling marks on the shells would prevent his capture.

New York police considered the possibility that the notorious Zodiac Killer may have relocated to the East Coast and resumed his crimes after two decades of inactivity. In the late 1960s the Zodiac Killer murdered at least five people and injured another two in the San Fransisco area in the late 1960s. He sent taunting letters and coded messages to local media, and was never identified. However, a handwriting analyst and consultation with California authorities ruled out that possibility.[1]

Capture[edit]

At 26 years old, Seda was an unemployed high school drop out, living with his mother and half-sister. Seda was mentally and physically abusive to his teen-aged half-sister, Gladys Reyes. During a confrontation with her and her boyfriend on June 18, 1996, Seda pulled out a weapon and began threatening the couple. While Reyes' boyfriend hid in the bedroom, she tried to escape through the front door, but Seda shot her in the buttocks. Wounded but not incapacitated, she made her way to her neighbor’s apartment where she called the police.

After an hours-long stand-off with the police, Seda gave up his firearms and was arrested.[2]

Investigation and trial[edit]

Authorities initially made no connection between Seda's arrest for the family violence incident, and the string of unsolved murders. However, he closed out his handwritten statement about the family incident with a symbol resembling one written on the taunting letters to the police by the unidentified killer.[1]

From here, police focused on Seda as a suspect. Despite the killer's claim that he could never be linked to the crimes due to the lack of rifling on the improvised guns, police were able to use tool-mark evidence to link Seda to the attacks. Fingerprint evidence was also found, and handwriting analysis determined a strong similarity between Seda's statement and the anonymous letters.[1] Most damning, police found Seda's DNA on one of the stamps that had been used to mail a letter to police.

Seda caused repeated disruptions in court, making outbursts and shouting at the judge.[3]

Victims[edit]

Date Victim Zodiac Sign Status Description
March 8, 1990 Mario Orozco Scorpio Survived Shot in the back. The bullet stayed lodged next to his spine.[4]
March 29, 1990 Jermaine Montenegro Gemini Survived Shot in the left torso of his lower body. The bullet went through his liver.[4]
May 31, 1990 Joseph "Joe" Proce Taurus Died Shot in his lower back, hitting his kidney. He survived attack, but died in the hospital on June 24, 1990[5]
June 19, 1990 Larry Parham Cancer Survived Shot in the chest. The bullet missed his aorta and exited his body through his right armpit.[4]
August 10, 1992 Patricia Fonti Leo Died Shot twice and then was stabbed over 100 times.[4]
June 4, 1993 James "Jim" Weber Libra Survived Shot in the buttocks.[4]
July 20, 1993 John Diacone Virgo Died Shot in the head at close range.[4]
October 2, 1993 Diane Ballard Taurus Survived Shot in the neck. The bullet missed vital arteries but lodged against her spine.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In prison, Seda began a romantic affair with Synthia-China Blast, described in media as a "pre-op Latin King" gang member who identifies as female, and is serving a sentence for a gang-related murder.[6] Their relationship garnered attention due to their legal battle to be allowed to marry while incarcerated, and due to Blast's efforts to obtain gender-reassignment surgery.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Crowley, Keiran (2003). Sleep My Little Dead: The True Story of the Zodiac Killer. St Martin's Paperbacks
  2. ^ Richardson, Lynda (June 22, 1996). "Suspect Is Charged in 4 Zodiac Cases in Queens". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  3. ^ Vivian S. Toy (1998). Man Said to Be Zodiac Killer Becomes Enraged at Trial, The New York Times May 15, 1998; URL accessed 25 March 2017
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Kleinfeld, N. (June 20, 1996). "THE TRAIL OF 'THE ZODIAC': THE OVERVIEW;Police Say Zodiac Suspect Admits Attacks That Killed 3 and Hurt 5". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
  5. ^ Curry, Jack (June 25, 1990). "3 Weeks Later, A Victim Shot By 'Zodiac' Dies". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-07. The gunman who calls himself Zodiac became responsible for his first death yesterday morning when his third shooting victim, a 78-year-old man, died at Jamaica Hospital, the police said. Joseph Proce was shot in the back about 2 A.M. on May 31 as he walked in front of 74-27 87th Road in Woodhaven, Queens, the police said. Mr. Proce later told the police that the gunman asked him for a glass of water and then shot him in the back as he walked away. 
  6. ^ Haynes, Esther. Kiss of the Scorpion Woman, New York Magazine

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