SAN FRANCISCO -- A letter and a blood-soaked piece of shirt have alerted San Francisco police to the possibility the slayer of a cab driver might be the same man who killed four others in the Bay Area in the last year.
The letter and swatch of cloth arrived in the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle Tuesday.
"I am the murderer of the taxi driver over by Washington St. and Maple Street last night," the letter said.
The bloody piece of cloth, according to police, at first glance matched the torn shirttail of Paul Stine, 29, who was shot to death in his cab in the Presidio Heights area Saturday.
The writer said in the letter he was the killer "of the people in the north Bay Area" -- a reference to the unsolved slayings in the Napa-Vallejo area in the past year.
In all five cases there has been the similarity of bragging notes, telephone calls, or in one case, a cryptogram, relayed to the press or the authorities. The pattern strongly suggests that one man may be responsible for all five murders.
The writer of the letter to the Chronicle signed the note with a cross-hair which has shown up in other messages.
Witnesses at the site of the Stine murder said they saw a man, white, 25 to 30 years old, about five-feet-eight inches tall -- wiping down the door and the interior of the cab with a piece of cloth. It may have been the piece of shirt.
The letter and the piece of shirt were sent to the police who shortly established that it was the same material in the shirt Stine was wearing. The letter is undergoing handwriting tests and the shirt-piece has been sent to the crime laboratory.
The other cases which also produced a boastful letter or call were the murders of Cecilia Ann Shepard, who died a week after receiving multiple stab wounds at Lake Berryessa; Darlene Ferrin, who was fatally shot in Vallejo July 4; and Thomas Faraday and Bettilou Jensen, who were killed in a double-murder in Vallejo area lovers' lane last December.