Infamous 'Zebra Killer��� Found Dead In San Quentin Cell

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By Peter Fimrite

Updated 11:05 pm, Friday, March 13, 2015
  • > > J.C.X. Simon was one of four notorious "Zebra killers" convicted of 14 slayings.
  • > > Inmate J.C.X. Simon, 69, was found unresponsive in his cell late Thursday night. He was pronounced dead at the prison at 11:59 p.m. March 12, 2015. The cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy.To see other infamous Bay Area crimes, keep clicking on the slideshow. Photo: Cdcr, CA Dept. Of Corrections And Reha
  • > > Click through this slideshow to see the 16 most infamous crimes in Bay Area history.
  • > > The Jack the Ripper of the Bay Area: Zodiac is our bogeyman.On August 1, 1969, the San Francisco Chronicle received its first letter from a man who called himself Zodiac. A series of cryptograms — only the first of which was ever definitively cracked — were sent from Zodiac to various media outlets in the Bay Area. The letters revealed a spree of murders: Police believe Zodiac killed at least five — three women, one teen boy and a cab driver in San Francisco. His last confirmed murder took place on October 11, 1969 but he continued sending letters to the Chronicle for several more years before going silent. In 2002, former Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith posited the killer was Arthur Leigh Allen, a theory that was adapted for the film “Zodiac” by David Fincher. The murders remain unsolved although cold case officials in Napa County report still receiving two to three tips per week. Photo: The Chronicle
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  • > > Fong
  • > > It was a reign of terror that shocked the city: From the autumn of 1973 until the spring of 1974, San Francisco wasn’t safe at night while the Zebra killers stalked the streets.Named after the Z radio channel that police used to communicate about the case, the Zebra murders claimed the lives of 14 people. The killers, Jesse Lee Cooks, Manuel Moore, Larry Green and J.C. Simon, were all African Americans targeting whites allegedly in the hopes of igniting a race war. In a panic, San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto (seen here followed by angry protestors) authorized the police to stop any black male who generally met the descriptions of the killers. Hundreds of innocent men were questioned before a federal judge put a stop to the practice. The break in the case came when the city put up a $30,000 reward. A man came forward with information that linked seven men to the killings. Cooks, Moore, Green and Simon were eventually sentenced to life in prison for their role in the murders. Earlier this year, Cooks was denied release by the state parole board. Photo: Susan Ehmer, Sfc
  • > > He was by reputation an honest man, but in the days of graft and quick death in the early 1900s, that wasn't enough to save Police Chief William Biggy. Scandal at City Hall led to ominous whispers - and in 1908, the chief disappeared.He was crossing the bay on a police boat at sundown on Nov. 30 when the dark deed was done. Or not done. The pilot of the boat, Officer William Murphy, told investigators he last saw the chief vomiting over the gunwale. Two weeks later, Biggy's body washed up on Angel Island. Wags had been whispering that Biggy was involved in the shooting of a prosecutor trying to bring down one of the city's political bagmen, and one theory was that Biggy was bumped off in retaliation.

But San Francisco crime historian Kevin Mullen believes Biggy killed himself in despair over being accused of something so nefarious when he was actually an honest cop in a corrupt city. Photo: Chronicle Archive
  • > > Known as the godfather of the Oakland drug trade, Felix Mitchell became even more infamous after his death — when he had the most famous and controversial outlaw funeral in state history.Mitchell, who grew up in the now-demolished 69th Avenue San Antonio Village projects, moved heroin all over the Bay Area and LA in the late 70's and early 80's as the leader of the 69th Avenue Mob. He came onto the radar of federal agents as the Oakland murder rate spiked, due in part to the drug war said to be being waged on the streets. Mitchell was convicted of tax evasion and multiple drug charges and sentenced to life in prison in 1985. The next year, Mitchell was fatally stabbed in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. His final homecoming looked more like the funeral of a sitting president than that of a drug lord. Thousands lined the streets of the East Bay as Mitchell’s funeral procession marched through Oakland to Emeryville. His casket was carried by a horse-drawn carriage followed by 14 Rolls Royce limos. Photo: Handout Photo, OAKLAND POLICE DEPTBI
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  • > > On June 12, 1962, Alcatraz prison guards awoke to find that brothers Clarence and John Anglin and Frank Morris were missing from their cells. In their beds were dummy heads made of soap, toilet paper and human hair and in their cell walls were holes they'd dug over the course of a year using spoons.The three men escaped through the holes and into ventilation shafts that took them to the roof. They used standard-issue prisoner raincoats to construct a raft and set off onto the inky bay waters. From there, they were never seen again.Most believe the trio drowned but some think they made it to Angel Island or even to Marin County. The U.S. Marshals Service keeps the case open to this day. Photo: Handout Photo, U. S. Penitentiary Alcatraz
  • > > His is one of the most memorable and infamous nicknames in history: The Unabomber.Ted Kaczynski’s life seemed to have a promising start — in his early 20s, he became the youngest-ever professor at UC Berkeley. But he abruptly quit in 1969 and began a strange downward spiral. Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski sent bombs all over the nation with the intent of killing people involved with advancing modern technology. His handmade bombs injured a professor and a graduate student at UC Berkeley and killed two men in Sacramento. The Unabomber was found in a remote cabin in Montana and arrested by FBI agents in 1996. He plead guilty to charges of transportation, mailing and use of bombs and murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Last year, Kaczynski submitted his latest information to the Harvard Alumni Association. He listed his current occupation as “prisoner” and his eight life sentences as his achievement. Photo: Ho, AP
  • > > In 1955, Jim Jones opened his first Peoples Temple in Indianapolis. Two decades later, he would lead his congregation — made up of hundreds of Bay Area residents — to commit one of the most horrifying acts of mass suicide in history.Jones arrived in California in the 1960s and immediately began to grow his flock. His first church was located in Ukiah. He soon added a large church in Redwood Valley and took over an old synagogue on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. At first things were good: The racially integrated church drew praise from local politicians. But then news of Jones’ tyrannical reign over his congregation began to leak. Jones and his followers fled to a compound in the jungles of Guyana. In November 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan of San Mateo, a group of reporters and worried family members landed at Jonestown to investigate. Ryan and four others were shot dead on the airstrip. Warning of an impending slaughter, Jones coerced the members of Jonestown to drink poisoned punch. Nine hundred and eighteen people died.
Today, a memorial in Oakland’s Evergreen Cemetery marks the spot where over 400 people who died at Jonestown are buried in a mass grave. Photo: UPI, The Chronicle
  • > > Comedian Roscoe
  • > >
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  • > > On July 1, 1993, 55-year-old Gian Luigi Ferri walked into 101 California Street and opened fire inside the 34th floor offices of the law firm of Pettit & Martin. Ferri killed eight and injured six before turning the gun on himself.For those seeking answers, there were few. Ferri seemed to have no personal grievances against the employees of Pettit & Martin, leaving behind a rambling letter that claimed he had been poisoned by the MSG in food.  As a result of the mass shooting, the state of California enacted even tougher gun laws and repealed a law that gave gun manufacturers immunity against lawsuits. Here, commander Richard Holder holds the gun that Ferri used to kill himself. Photo: Vince Maggiora, CHRONICLE
  • > > It may be the most famous murder in Oakland history: the shooting of Black Panther Huey P. Newton.Newton (right) grew up in the Bay Area, graduating Oakland Tech in 1959 before moving on to Merritt College in Oakland. While there, Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966. Newton came to be a vocal representative of the Black Power movement throughout the 60’s and 70’s. His group became notorious for its militancy and armed shows of force. On August 22, 1989, Newton was leaving a crack house in West Oakland when he was confronted and shot to death by a 24-year-old drug dealer. His last words before being shot were allegedly:
  • > > Newspaper heiress Patty Hearst was just an ordinary student at UC Berkeley until the day she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974.Hearst was kept locked away in a closet in an apartment near the University of San Francisco until April 15 when she emerged, gun in hand, to help her captors hold up the Hibernia Bank. The group made off with over $10,000 and shot two people.Patty Hearst was arrested on robbery charges in 1976. Her attorneys argued she had Stockholm syndrome, but the jury found her guilty. Her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and she was later given a full pardon by President Clinton.
  • > > Perhaps the most confounding death mystery of all is one in which a body is never found. That is the enduring horror surrounding Kevin Collins, the 10-year-old boy who disappeared on his way home from basketball practice in 1984.Kevin was last seen sitting on a bus bench at Oak Street and Masonic Avenue at 6:40 p.m. Despite a nationwide hunt and a cover story in Newsweek magazine, no solid suspect has ever emerged. 
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  • > > Tragically, San Francisco’s most famous gay rights activist became its most famous martyr when, on November 27, 1978, Dan White walked into City Hall and shot Supervisor Harvey Milk along with Mayor George Moscone.The city’s outpouring of grief was tremendous. That night, an impromptu candlelight vigil of tens of thousands started in the Castro and marched to City Hall. In death, Milk became the enduring symbol for gay rights; he was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 for his contributions to the gay rights movement.Long before President Obama became famous for invoking hope, Milk spoke on the same subject. His speeches, like this one, still inspire today: 
  • > > When Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey was murdered in 2007, it was only the beginning of the unravelling of the lurid history of Your Black Muslim Bakery.The bakery, founded in the late 1960s by Yusuf Bey, had for decades represented black entrepreneurship in North and West Oakland. Politicians recognized it as a community force; Jerry Brown once gave a stump speech there. But the bakery was a facade for the Bey family’s often violent power struggles. There were kidnappings, disappearances, murders and allegations of abuse and rape enacted upon the young women who worked at the bakery. Bailey’s murder, supposedly for investigating too deeply into the bakery’s finances and power structure, precipitated a massive raid that took in several high-ranking members. Yusuf Bey IV (seen here) was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in 2011 and sentenced to life in prison. The bakery was renovated and now houses several different stores in its former compound. Photo: Dan Rosenstrauch, AP
  • > > Every once and a while, a trial comes along that captivates the nation. The Scott Peterson trial was one of them. The case took on such a level of notoriety that the proceedings had to be moved to San Mateo County to find a jury that didn’t already believe Peterson was guilty of the murder of his wife and their unborn child.Scott Peterson’s wife Laci, who was eight months pregnant, was reported missing from their home in Modesto on Christmas Eve 2002. Although her husband wasn’t initially a suspect, inconsistencies in his story and evidence of extramarital affairs put Scott in the spotlight as the primary suspect. The bodies of Laci and her fetus washed up on the shore in Richmond in April and Scott Peterson was arrested days later. In his possession were $15,000 in cash and four cell phones. In 2005, he was sentenced to death. He is currently on death row at San Quentin.  Photo: Justin Sullivan
  • > > Click through this slideshow to see the most infamous Bay Area crimes.What started as a $75 shoplifting case unveiled two of the state's most twisted serial killers.Police first zeroed in on Ng and Leonard Lake on June 2, 1985, when Ng was spotted stealing from a South San Francisco store. He fled on foot, and Lake was arrested for shoplifting.

While in custody, Lake killed himself by swallowing a cyanide capsule, but investigators soon turned up evidence linking him and Ng to a series of missing-persons cases -- and then to this cabin in Wilseyville in Calaveras County.The pair kidnapped people from all over Northern California and took them to the cabin for torture, rape and murder. They toyed with their victims, videotaping them in tears, raping them and burning them. And after killing them, Ng and Lake buried them in shallow graves around the cabin. During the six-month trial, jurors were played a videotape in which Ng told a victim,
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  • > > Over 35 years ago, three men in their 20s kidnapped a bus full of schoolchildren in the Central Valley town of Chowchilla, stuffed them and their driver into a makeshift underground dungeon and demanded a $5 million ransom.Brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld of Atherton, and their friend Frederick Woods of Portola Valley told relatives they hijacked the school bus at gunpoint on a road in Chowchilla on July 15, 1976, to get money to pay off a $30,000 debt they'd racked up in buying a house. After piling the driver and all the children into vans, they drove them 100 miles north to Livermore, where they left the prisoners buried in a moving van in a quarry. That's when, failing to get through overloaded phone lines at the Chowchilla police station, they took a nap. When they woke up, they learned from the radio that their 27 victims had dug themselves free after 16 hours. The abductors were nabbed and given life terms in prison, and the victims all tried to get on with their lives. 
  • > > Rev. Patrick Heslin was at Holy Angels Church in Colma late one night in August 1921 when a man knocked at the door, begging Heslin to administer last rites to a dying man. Heslin left with the man, never to be seen again.In the morning, the Archdiocese received a ransom note demanding $6,500 if they wanted to see Heslin alive. For days, police frantically searched for the popular priest, but the case wasn't broken until Examiner reporter George Lynn listened to a strange man's convoluted tale.While on a visit to the archbishop's residence, Lynn ran into a 41-year-old William A. Hightower,
  • > > It was a shocking act of terrorism, and an even more shocking failure of the California justice system.In 1916, a bomb exploded on Market Street amidst thousands of San Franciscans marching in a
  • > > Lawrence Singleton remains one of the most hated men in California criminal history.On Sept. 29, 1978, Singleton kidnapped 15-year-old Mary Vincent from Berkeley and drove her to rural Stanislaus County where he beat her, raped her and, horrifyingly, used a hatchet to chop off both her arms at the elbows. Singleton drove off, leaving Vincent to presumably bleed to death.But Vincent wasn't dead. She managed to make her way back to the main road where she was picked up and driven to a hospital. And thankfully, she survived.Singleton was convicted of kidnap, mayhem, attempted murder, forcible rape, sodomy and forced oral copulation in 1979, but was paroled to Contra Costa County in 1987 to great outrage.No town would let Singleton move to their community, so he served out his parole in a trailer on the San Quentin prison grounds. He died in Florida in 2002. Photo: Chris O'meara, Associated Press
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  • > > The Pinecrest Diner at Geary and Mason was the site of one of the city's strangest murders: Homicide over poached eggs.Cook
 Hashiem Zayed, 59, and waitress, Helen Menicou, 47, were co-workers of 
over two decades, but on the morning of July 24, 1997, Zayed decided 
he'd had enough. The day before, Menicou wanted to make a customer 
poached eggs.
  • > > Twenty years ago, the real-life bogeyman showed up in Petaluma in the form of Richard Allen Davis.A twice-convicted kidnapper with a history of violence against women, the 39-year-old thug drifted into what was then the 45,000-soul town of Petaluma in September 1993, sleeping under a bridge and at a halfway house before spying 12-year-old Polly Klaas one day. On Oct. 1, Davis stole into her house while she was having a sleepover with two friends, snatching her while her mother slept nearby. A police bulletin sent out about Polly was so limited it didn't reach two sheriff's deputies who questioned Davis after he got his car stuck in a ditch east of Santa Rosa - with Polly temporarily stashed on a hillside nearby - and the kidnapper was free to drive north.

Somewhere along the way, he strangled the girl, then left her body beneath a heap of scrap wood in a field near Cloverdale. It was two months before detectives zeroed in on Davis and wrung a confession from him. By then the case had captivated the nation like no other before it. Horror over the nature of Polly's end was a significant factor in the creation of reforms such as Megan's Law, which mandates public databases of sex offenders, and Amber Alert bulletins on abductions. Photo: Brant Ward, SFC
  • > > Although
  • > > Seventeen days after Squeaky Fromme tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford, Sara Jane Moore seized her opportunity in front of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.On Sept. 22, 1975, driven by radical political beliefs, Moore fired shots across the street from the St. Francis. Her first shot barely missed. Before she could get off a second shot, an ex-marine named Oliver Wellington Sipple lunged for the revolver in her outstretched arm, causing her shot to go astray. 
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  • > > A 2003 Chronicle article called it
  • > > Like Scott Peterson, Hans Reiser has gone down as one of the Bay Area's most infamous wife-killers.For months, the former computer programmer denied knowledge of what had happened to his missing wife Nina, who disappeared on Sept. 5, 2006. Although no body had been found, Reiser was found guilty of first degree murder in 2008.Once the conviction came down, Reiser agreed to reveal the location of Nina's body in exchange for a second degree murder charge. Reiser took police to a shallow grave in the Oakland Hills and confessed to strangling her after she made a
  • > > It has all the makings of an episode of CSI. Cocaine, prostitutes, rape, murder, bodies dumped in Golden Gate Park — all by an ex-cop.In 1983, former Millbrae police officer Jack Sully was convicted of the murder of five women and one man. The victims were four prostitutes, a man who may have been a pimp and a woman who offered to sell Sully cocaine. The prosecution presented
  • > > Movies and TV shows love to depict thrilling prison breaks and courthouse escapes — but it happened in real life in Marin County in 1970 with deadly, devastating consequences.Jonathan P. Jackson entered the Marin County Courthouse armed with a 
carbine and highway flares and shouted,
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  • > > On April 1, 1976, 19-year-old Denise Lampe left the Serramonte Mall in Daly City and returned to her car, a 1964 Mustang. Her body was found that evening in the parking lot. She was one of five young women murdered in San Mateo County in the early months of 1976 — slayings that have never been solved.The others were 18-year-old Ronnie Cascio, found stabbed 30 times at the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica; 14-year-old Tanya Blackwell, discovered on Gypsy Hill Road in the city a few months later; 17-year-old Paula Baxter; and Carol Lee Booth, 26, who was reported missing in March and found dead a month later in South San Francisco. Many of the young women were believed to be experiencing car troubles when they were assaulted and killed.The FBI recently launched a task force to look into the murders anew. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at (415) 553-7400.  Photo: Handout/Federal Bureau Of Invest
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J.C.X. Simon was one of four notorious "Zebra killers" convicted of 14 slayings.

J.C.X. Simon was one of four notorious "Zebra killers" convicted of 14 slayings.

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Inmate J.C.X. Simon, 69, was found unresponsive in his cell late Thursday night. He was pronounced dead at the prison at 11:59 p.m. March 12, 2015. The cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy.

To see other infamous Bay Area crimes, keep clicking on the slideshow.

less

Inmate J.C.X. Simon, 69, was found unresponsive in his cell late Thursday night. He was pronounced dead at the prison at 11:59 p.m. March 12, 2015. The cause of death is unknown pending the results of an

... more Photo: Cdcr, CA Dept. Of Corrections And Reha Image 3 of 42 Click through this slideshow to see the 16 most infamous crimes in Bay Area history. Click through this slideshow to see the 16 most infamous crimes in Bay Area history. Image 4 of 42 The Jack the Ripper of the Bay Area:

Zodiac is our bogeyman.

On August 1, 1969, the San Francisco Chronicle received its first letter from a man who called himself Zodiac. A series of cryptograms — only the first of which was ever definitively cracked — were sent from Zodiac to various media outlets in the Bay Area.  The letters revealed a spree of murders: Police believe Zodiac killed at least five — three women, one teen boy and a cab driver in San Francisco. His last confirmed murder took place on October 11, 1969 but he continued sending letters to the Chronicle for several more years before going silent.  In 2002, former Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith posited the killer was Arthur Leigh Allen, a theory that was adapted for the film “Zodiac” by David Fincher. The murders remain unsolved although cold case officials in Napa County report still receiving two to three tips per week. less The Jack the Ripper of the Bay Area:

Zodiac is our bogeyman.

On August 1, 1969, the San Francisco Chronicle received its first letter from a man who called himself Zodiac. A series of cryptograms — only the ... more Photo: The Chronicle Image 5 of 42 Image 6 of 42

Fong "Little Pete" Ching

(second from right) was the king of Chinatown in 1897. As leader of the Sam Yup Tong, the 32-year-old was rumored to have killed 50 men, and was worth more than $150,000 - a fortune in those days - in gains from his empire built on prostitution, gambling and opium.

Little Pete never went anywhere without a bodyguard, plus two German shepherds, two pistols, a chain-mail armor vest, and a hat reinforced with metal to function as a helmet.  But on Jan. 23, Little Pete let down his guard. He was getting the finishing touches on a shave at the Wong Lung barbershop at 819 Washington St. when two gunmen burst in and held him down. They shoved a .45-caliber revolver under the chain mail and pumped five bullets into his spine, then two more into his head.   By the time the police came, The Chronicle wrote, "Little Pete's face, clean shaven, powder-marked and bloody, was setting into the fixed stare that marks death." Nobody was ever convicted. less

Fong "Little Pete" Ching

(second from right) was the king of Chinatown in 1897. As leader of the Sam Yup Tong, the 32-year-old was rumored to have killed 50 men, and was worth more than $150,000 - a fortune in

... more Photo: -, The Bancroft Library Image 7 of 42 It was a reign of terror that shocked the city: From the autumn of 1973 until the spring of 1974, San Francisco wasn’t safe at night while the

Zebra killers stalked the streets.

Named after the Z radio channel that police used to communicate about the case, the Zebra murders claimed the lives of 14 people. The killers, Jesse Lee Cooks, Manuel Moore, Larry Green and J.C. Simon, were all African Americans targeting whites allegedly in the hopes of igniting a race war.  In a panic, San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto (seen here followed by angry protestors) authorized the police to stop any black male who generally met the descriptions of the killers. Hundreds of innocent men were questioned before a federal judge put a stop to the practice.  The break in the case came when the city put up a $30,000 reward. A man came forward with information that linked seven men to the killings. Cooks, Moore, Green and Simon were eventually sentenced to life in prison for their role in the murders. Earlier this year, Cooks was denied release by the state parole board. less It was a reign of terror that shocked the city: From the autumn of 1973 until the spring of 1974, San Francisco wasn’t safe at night while the

Zebra killers stalked the streets.

Named after the Z radio channel ... more Photo: Susan Ehmer, Sfc Image 8 of 42 He was by reputation an honest man, but in the days of graft and quick death in the early 1900s, that wasn't enough to save

Police Chief William Biggy . Scandal at City Hall led to ominous whispers - and in 1908, the chief disappeared.

He was crossing the bay on a police boat at sundown on Nov. 30 when the dark deed was done. Or not done. The pilot of the boat, Officer William Murphy, told investigators he last saw the chief vomiting over the gunwale. Two weeks later, Biggy's body washed up on Angel Island.  Wags had been whispering that Biggy was involved in the shooting of a prosecutor trying to bring down one of the city's political bagmen, and one theory was that Biggy was bumped off in retaliation. But San Francisco crime historian Kevin Mullen believes Biggy killed himself in despair over being accused of something so nefarious when he was actually an honest cop in a corrupt city. less He was by reputation an honest man, but in the days of graft and quick death in the early 1900s, that wasn't enough to save

Police Chief William Biggy . Scandal at City Hall led to ominous whispers - and in ... more

Photo: Chronicle Archive Image 9 of 42 Known as the godfather of the Oakland drug trade,

Felix Mitchell became even more infamous after his death — when he had the most famous and controversial outlaw funeral in state history.

Mitchell, who grew up in the now-demolished 69th Avenue San Antonio Village projects, moved heroin all over the Bay Area and LA in the late 70's and early 80's as the leader of the 69th Avenue Mob. He came onto the radar of federal agents as the Oakland murder rate spiked, due in part to the drug war said to be being waged on the streets.  Mitchell was convicted of tax evasion and multiple drug charges and sentenced to life in prison in 1985. The next year, Mitchell was fatally stabbed in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.  His final homecoming looked more like the funeral of a sitting president than that of a drug lord. Thousands lined the streets of the East Bay as Mitchell’s funeral procession marched through Oakland to Emeryville. His casket was carried by a horse-drawn carriage followed by 14 Rolls Royce limos. less Known as the godfather of the Oakland drug trade,

Felix Mitchell became even more infamous after his death — when he had the most famous and controversial outlaw funeral in state history.

Mitchell, who grew up ... more Photo: Handout Photo, OAKLAND POLICE DEPTBI Image 10 of 42 Image 11 of 42 On June 12, 1962, Alcatraz prison guards awoke to find that brothers

Clarence and John Anglin and Frank Morris were missing from their cells. In their beds were dummy heads made of soap, toilet paper and human hair and in their cell walls were holes they'd dug over the course of a year using spoons.

The three men escaped through the holes and into ventilation shafts that took them to the roof. They used standard-issue prisoner raincoats to construct a raft and set off onto the inky bay waters. From there, they were never seen again. Most believe the trio drowned but some think they made it to Angel Island or even to Marin County. The U.S. Marshals Service keeps the case open to this day. less On June 12, 1962, Alcatraz prison guards awoke to find that brothers

Clarence and John Anglin and Frank Morris were missing from their cells. In their beds were dummy heads made of soap, toilet paper and human ... more

Photo: Handout Photo, U. S. Penitentiary Alcatraz Image 12 of 42 His is one of the most memorable and infamous nicknames in history:

The Unabomber.

Ted Kaczynski’s life seemed to have a promising start — in his early 20s, he became the youngest-ever professor at UC Berkeley. But he abruptly quit in 1969 and began a strange downward spiral.  Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski sent bombs all over the nation with the intent of killing people involved with advancing modern technology. His handmade bombs injured a professor and a graduate student at UC Berkeley and killed two men in Sacramento.  The Unabomber was found in a remote cabin in Montana and arrested by FBI agents in 1996. He plead guilty to charges of transportation, mailing and use of bombs and murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Last year, Kaczynski submitted his latest information to the Harvard Alumni Association. He listed his current occupation as “prisoner” and his eight life sentences as his achievement. less His is one of the most memorable and infamous nicknames in history:

The Unabomber.

Ted Kaczynski’s life seemed to have a promising start — in his early 20s, he became the youngest-ever professor at UC ... more Photo: Ho, AP Image 13 of 42 In 1955,

Jim Jones opened his first Peoples Temple in Indianapolis. Two decades later, he would lead his congregation — made up of hundreds of Bay Area residents — to commit one of the most horrifying acts of mass suicide in history.

Jones arrived in California in the 1960s and immediately began to grow his flock. His first church was located in Ukiah. He soon added a large church in Redwood Valley and took over an old synagogue on Fillmore Street in San Francisco.  At first things were good: The racially integrated church drew praise from local politicians. But then news of Jones’ tyrannical reign over his congregation began to leak. Jones and his followers fled to a compound in the jungles of Guyana. In November 1978, Congressman Leo Ryan of San Mateo, a group of reporters and worried family members landed at Jonestown to investigate. Ryan and four others were shot dead on the airstrip.  Warning of an impending slaughter, Jones coerced the members of Jonestown to drink poisoned punch. Nine hundred and eighteen people died. Today, a memorial in Oakland’s Evergreen Cemetery marks the spot where over 400 people who died at Jonestown are buried in a mass grave. less In 1955,

Jim Jones opened his first Peoples Temple in Indianapolis. Two decades later, he would lead his congregation — made up of hundreds of Bay Area residents — to commit one of the most horrifying acts ... more

Photo: UPI, The Chronicle Image 14 of 42 Comedian

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was one of the biggest silent-movie stars in the world in two respects in September 1921: He'd just signed an unprecedented $1 million film contract, and he famously weighed 266 pounds.

Arbuckle came to the city by the bay that year to celebrate his new contract - but on Sept. 5, on the third day of a booze-fueled party at the St. Francis Hotel, Arbuckle's career skidded to an ugly end.  Virginia Rappe was one of the more fetching carousers at the party, and Arbuckle later testified that he found her vomiting in his bathroom. He put her to bed, he said, and summoned the hotel doctor. Some witnesses told a hoarier tale. The hefty film star, they said, had raped 26-year-old Rappe with a bottle and crushed her with his girth during the act.  Rappe died three days later of peritonitis caused by a ruptured bladder. Based on the salacious accusations, Arbuckle was tried three times for murder. The last produced an innocence verdict - but the damage was done. He was blackballed in Hollywood and died at 46 of a heart attack in 1933. less Comedian

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was one of the biggest silent-movie stars in the world in two respects in September 1921: He'd just signed an unprecedented $1 million film contract, and he famously weighed 266 ... more

Photo: Handout, Chronicle Archive Image 15 of 42 Image 16 of 42 On July 1, 1993, 55-year-old

Gian Luigi Ferri walked into 101 California Street and opened fire inside the 34th floor offices of the law firm of Pettit & Martin. Ferri killed eight and injured six before turning the gun on himself.

For those seeking answers, there were few. Ferri seemed to have no personal grievances against the employees of Pettit & Martin, leaving behind a rambling letter that claimed he had been poisoned by the MSG in food.  As a result of the mass shooting, the state of California enacted even tougher gun laws and repealed a law that gave gun manufacturers immunity against lawsuits.  Here, commander Richard Holder holds the gun that Ferri used to kill himself. less On July 1, 1993, 55-year-old

Gian Luigi Ferri walked into 101 California Street and opened fire inside the 34th floor offices of the law firm of Pettit & Martin. Ferri killed eight and injured six before ... more

Photo: Vince Maggiora, CHRONICLE Image 17 of 42 It may be the most famous murder in Oakland history: the shooting of Black Panther

Huey P. Newton .

Newton (right) grew up in the Bay Area, graduating Oakland Tech in 1959 before moving on to Merritt College in Oakland. While there, Newton and Bobby Seale formed the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966. Newton came to be a vocal representative of the Black Power movement throughout the 60’s and 70’s. His group became notorious for its militancy and armed shows of force.  On August 22, 1989, Newton was leaving a crack house in West Oakland when he was confronted and shot to death by a 24-year-old drug dealer. His last words before being shot were allegedly: "You can kill my body, but you can't kill my soul. My soul will live forever." less It may be the most famous murder in Oakland history: the shooting of Black Panther

Huey P. Newton .

Newton (right) grew up in the Bay Area, graduating Oakland Tech in 1959 before moving on to Merritt College in ... more Photo: Ap, AP Image 18 of 42 Newspaper heiress

Patty Hearst was just an ordinary student at UC Berkeley until the day she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974.

Hearst was kept locked away in a closet in an apartment near the University of San Francisco until April 15 when she emerged, gun in hand, to help her captors hold up the Hibernia Bank. The group made off with over $10,000 and shot two people. Patty Hearst was arrested on robbery charges in 1976. Her attorneys argued she had Stockholm syndrome, but the jury found her guilty. Her sentence was commuted by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and she was later given a full pardon by President Clinton. less Newspaper heiress

Patty Hearst was just an ordinary student at UC Berkeley until the day she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974.

Hearst was kept locked away in a closet in an apartment near ... more Image 19 of 42 Perhaps the most confounding death mystery of all is one in which a body is never found. That is the enduring horror surrounding

Kevin Collins , the 10-year-old boy who disappeared on his way home from basketball practice in 1984.

Kevin was last seen sitting on a bus bench at Oak Street and Masonic Avenue at 6:40 p.m. Despite a nationwide hunt and a cover story in Newsweek magazine, no solid suspect has ever emerged.  "He's deceased, " Kevin's despondent father, David Collins, finally told The Chronicle in 1996 as he closed the search center he ran for 12 years in an effort to find his boy. "If he could have, he would have come back to us." less Perhaps the most confounding death mystery of all is one in which a body is never found. That is the enduring horror surrounding

Kevin Collins , the 10-year-old boy who disappeared on his way home from ... more

Photo: Paul Sakuma, Associated Press 1984 Image 20 of 42 Image 21 of 42 Tragically, San Francisco’s most famous gay rights activist became its most famous martyr when, on November 27, 1978, Dan White walked into City Hall and shot Supervisor

Harvey Milk along with Mayor

George Moscone .

The city’s outpouring of grief was tremendous. That night, an impromptu candlelight vigil of tens of thousands started in the Castro and marched to City Hall. In death, Milk became the enduring symbol for gay rights; he was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 for his contributions to the gay rights movement. Long before President Obama became famous for invoking hope, Milk spoke on the same subject. His speeches, like this one, still inspire today:  "Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up. And if you help elect to the central committee and other offices, more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone." less Tragically, San Francisco’s most famous gay rights activist became its most famous martyr when, on November 27, 1978, Dan White walked into City Hall and shot Supervisor

Harvey Milk along with Mayor

George ... more

Photo: Associated Press Image 22 of 42 When Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey was murdered in 2007, it was only the beginning of the unravelling of the lurid history of

Your Black Muslim Bakery .

The bakery, founded in the late 1960s by Yusuf Bey, had for decades represented black entrepreneurship in North and West Oakland. Politicians recognized it as a community force; Jerry Brown once gave a stump speech there. But the bakery was a facade for the Bey family’s often violent power struggles.  There were kidnappings, disappearances, murders and allegations of abuse and rape enacted upon the young women who worked at the bakery. Bailey’s murder, supposedly for investigating too deeply into the bakery’s finances and power structure, precipitated a massive raid that took in several high-ranking members.  Yusuf Bey IV (seen here) was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder in 2011 and sentenced to life in prison. The bakery was renovated and now houses several different stores in its former compound. less When Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey was murdered in 2007, it was only the beginning of the unravelling of the lurid history of

Your Black Muslim Bakery .

The bakery, founded in the late 1960s by Yusuf Bey, ... more Photo: Dan Rosenstrauch, AP Image 23 of 42 Every once and a while, a trial comes along that captivates the nation. The

Scott Peterson trial was one of them. The case took on such a level of notoriety that the proceedings had to be moved to San Mateo County to find a jury that didn’t already believe Peterson was guilty of the murder of his wife and their unborn child.

Scott Peterson’s wife Laci, who was eight months pregnant, was reported missing from their home in Modesto on Christmas Eve 2002. Although her husband wasn’t initially a suspect, inconsistencies in his story and evidence of extramarital affairs put Scott in the spotlight as the primary suspect.  The bodies of Laci and her fetus washed up on the shore in Richmond in April and Scott Peterson was arrested days later. In his possession were $15,000 in cash and four cell phones.  In 2005, he was sentenced to death. He is currently on death row at San Quentin. less Every once and a while, a trial comes along that captivates the nation. The

Scott Peterson trial was one of them. The case took on such a level of notoriety that the proceedings had to be moved to San Mateo ... more

Photo: Justin Sullivan Image 24 of 42 | Charles Ng and Leonard Lake

Click through this slideshow to see the most infamous Bay Area crimes.

What started as a $75 shoplifting case unveiled two of the state's most twisted serial killers.

Police first zeroed in on Ng and Leonard Lake on June 2, 1985, when Ng was spotted stealing from a South San Francisco store. He fled on foot, and Lake was arrested for shoplifting. While in custody, Lake killed himself by swallowing a cyanide capsule, but investigators soon turned up evidence linking him and Ng to a series of missing-persons cases -- and then to this cabin in Wilseyville in Calaveras County. The pair kidnapped people from all over Northern California and took them to the cabin for torture, rape and murder. They toyed with their victims, videotaping them in tears, raping them and burning them. And after killing them, Ng and Lake buried them in shallow graves around the cabin.  During the six-month trial, jurors were played a videotape in which Ng told a victim, "You can cry and stuff like the rest of them, but it won't do you no good. We're pretty coldhearted."  Ng was convicted of murdering six men, three women and two babies during an eight-month rampage in 1984 and 1985. He is currently on death row at San Quentin. less

Click through this slideshow to see the most infamous Bay Area crimes.

What started as a $75 shoplifting case unveiled two of the state's most twisted serial killers.

Police first zeroed in on Ng and Leonard Lake ... more Photo: Mike Maloney, STAFF Image 25 of 42 Image 26 of 42 | The Chowchilla kidnappers Over 35 years ago, three men in their 20s kidnapped a bus full of schoolchildren in the Central Valley town of Chowchilla, stuffed them and their driver into a makeshift underground dungeon and demanded a $5 million ransom. Brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld of Atherton, and their friend Frederick Woods of Portola Valley told relatives they hijacked the school bus at gunpoint on a road in Chowchilla on July 15, 1976, to get money to pay off a $30,000 debt they'd racked up in buying a house.  After piling the driver and all the children into vans, they drove them 100 miles north to Livermore, where they left the prisoners buried in a moving van in a quarry.  That's when, failing to get through overloaded phone lines at the Chowchilla police station, they took a nap. When they woke up, they learned from the radio that their 27 victims had dug themselves free after 16 hours.  The abductors were nabbed and given life terms in prison, and the victims all tried to get on with their lives.  "I don't think they should ever get out [of jail]," said Jodi Heffington Medrano, who was 10 when snatched with her classmates. "They did something to children, and we're not children now, but I remember it like it was yesterday. less Over 35 years ago, three men in their 20s kidnapped a bus full of schoolchildren in the Central Valley town of Chowchilla, stuffed them and their driver into a makeshift underground dungeon and demanded a $5 ... more Photo: James Palmer, AP Image 27 of 42 | Murder of a priest Rev. Patrick Heslin was at Holy Angels Church in Colma late one night in August 1921 when a man knocked at the door, begging Heslin to administer last rites to a dying man. Heslin left with the man, never to be seen again. In the morning, the Archdiocese received a ransom note demanding $6,500 if they wanted to see Heslin alive. For days, police frantically searched for the popular priest, but the case wasn't broken until Examiner reporter George Lynn listened to a strange man's convoluted tale. While on a visit to the archbishop's residence, Lynn ran into a 41-year-old William A. Hightower, "a lanky, sandy-haired Texan who was dressed in a rumpled Palm Beach suit and a wide, floppy straw hat." Hightower told Lynn he knew where the priest's body was: in a spot where "a man watched him day and night ... and all this time this fellow's cooking hotcakes." Lynn believed him; Hightower revealed the "man cooking flapjacks" was the man in the famous Albers Rolled Oats billboard and led Lynn and the police to a sandy grave in Sharp Park in Pacifica (seen here). Lynn had the story exclusively for The Examiner the next day. Guards prevented anyone — including carrier boys — from leaving the newspaper building until the paper was printed. Hightower was convicted for the priest's murder and served 44 years in prison. less Rev. Patrick Heslin was at Holy Angels Church in Colma late one night in August 1921 when a man knocked at the door, begging Heslin to administer last rites to a dying man. Heslin left with the man, never to be ... more Photo: Thomas Levinson, The Chronicle Image 28 of 42 | Preparedness Day bombing It was a shocking act of terrorism, and an even more shocking failure of the California justice system. In 1916, a bomb exploded on Market Street amidst thousands of San Franciscans marching in a "Preparedness Day" parade supporting war readiness. Ten people were killed and 40 wounded.

Despite a stunning lack of evidence, left-wing labor activists Tom Mooney and Warren Billings were arrested, tried and sentenced to death and life in prison, respectively. All this despite the fact that Mooney was photographed a mile away moments before the bomb exploded. Witnesses admitted to lying under oath. And still nothing was done to free either man.

It wasn't until Gov. Culbert Olson pardoned Mooney in 1939 that both men were finally freed. Billings was not given a full pardon until 1961. The true bomber was never found. less It was a shocking act of terrorism, and an even more shocking failure of the California justice system. In 1916, a bomb exploded on Market Street amidst thousands of San Franciscans marching in a "Preparedness ... more Photo: The Chronicle Image 29 of 42 | Lawrence Singleton Lawrence Singleton remains one of the most hated men in California criminal history. On Sept. 29, 1978, Singleton kidnapped 15-year-old Mary Vincent from Berkeley and drove her to rural Stanislaus County where he beat her, raped her and, horrifyingly, used a hatchet to chop off both her arms at the elbows. Singleton drove off, leaving Vincent to presumably bleed to death. But Vincent wasn't dead. She managed to make her way back to the main road where she was picked up and driven to a hospital. And thankfully, she survived. Singleton was convicted of kidnap, mayhem, attempted murder, forcible rape, sodomy and forced oral copulation in 1979, but was paroled to Contra Costa County in 1987 to great outrage. No town would let Singleton move to their community, so he served out his parole in a trailer on the San Quentin prison grounds. He died in Florida in 2002. less Lawrence Singleton remains one of the most hated men in California criminal history.
On Sept. 29, 1978, Singleton kidnapped 15-year-old Mary Vincent from Berkeley and drove her to rural Stanislaus County where ... more Photo: Chris O'meara, Associated Press Image 30 of 42 Image 31 of 42 The Pinecrest Diner at Geary and Mason was the site of one of the city's strangest murders: Homicide over poached eggs. Cook Hashiem Zayed, 59, and waitress, Helen Menicou, 47, were co-workers of over two decades, but on the morning of July 24, 1997, Zayed decided he'd had enough. The day before, Menicou wanted to make a customer poached eggs.

"Apparently the victim told him he couldn't make it because it wasn't on the menu," said homicide Inspector Armand Gordon.

The couple fought, Menicou allegedly berating him in front of employees and a customer. When Zayed returned to work the next day, he said he was "going to shoot her." Coworkers thought he was just blowing off steam until the chef he fired at the waitress repeatedly with a handgun, killing her in the restaurant. Zayed was serving a 35-year prison sentence for Menicou's murder when he died of a brain tumor in 2000. less The Pinecrest Diner at Geary and Mason was the site of one of the city's strangest murders: Homicide over poached eggs. Cook Hashiem Zayed, 59, and waitress, Helen Menicou, 47, were co-workers of over two ... more Photo: BEN MARGOT, AP/Ben Margot Image 32 of 42 | Richard Allen Davis Twenty years ago, the real-life bogeyman showed up in Petaluma in the form of Richard Allen Davis. A twice-convicted kidnapper with a history of violence against women, the 39-year-old thug drifted into what was then the 45,000-soul town of Petaluma in September 1993, sleeping under a bridge and at a halfway house before spying 12-year-old Polly Klaas one day. On Oct. 1, Davis stole into her house while she was having a sleepover with two friends, snatching her while her mother slept nearby.  A police bulletin sent out about Polly was so limited it didn't reach two sheriff's deputies who questioned Davis after he got his car stuck in a ditch east of Santa Rosa - with Polly temporarily stashed on a hillside nearby - and the kidnapper was free to drive north. Somewhere along the way, he strangled the girl, then left her body beneath a heap of scrap wood in a field near Cloverdale.  It was two months before detectives zeroed in on Davis and wrung a confession from him. By then the case had captivated the nation like no other before it. Horror over the nature of Polly's end was a significant factor in the creation of reforms such as Megan's Law, which mandates public databases of sex offenders, and Amber Alert bulletins on abductions. less Twenty years ago, the real-life bogeyman showed up in Petaluma in the form of Richard Allen Davis. A twice-convicted kidnapper with a history of violence against women, the 39-year-old thug drifted into what was ... more Photo: Brant Ward, SFC Image 33 of 42 | The Night Stalker Although "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez committed most of his murders in Southern California, he had a few victims in the Bay Area.

 

In 2009, investigators used DNA evidence to link the 1984 beating, rape and fatal stabbing of 9-year-old Mei "Linda" Leung in a Tenderloin hotel. Leung's body was found draped over a pipe in the basement of 756 O'Farrell St. Ramirez lived nearby at either 373 Ellis St. or 56 Mason St., police said. Ramirez struck again locally when he killed 66-year-old accountant Peter Pan in his Lake Merced home in Aug. 1985. Pan's wife survived the attack and helped identify Ramirez based on sketches from other surviving victims.  Ramirez's mugshot was circulated by police, and he was famously caught and beaten by a crowd in East Los Angeles who spotted him trying to steal a car. He died in 2013 in prison — of cancer. less Although "Night Stalker" Richard Ramirez committed most of his murders in Southern California, he had a few victims in the Bay Area.   In 2009, investigators used DNA evidence to link the 1984 beating, rape and ... more Photo: John Mabanglo, AP Image 34 of 42 | Assassination attempt on President Ford Seventeen days after Squeaky Fromme tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford, Sara Jane Moore seized her opportunity in front of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. On Sept. 22, 1975, driven by radical political beliefs, Moore fired shots across the street from the St. Francis. Her first shot barely missed. Before she could get off a second shot, an ex-marine named Oliver Wellington Sipple lunged for the revolver in her outstretched arm, causing her shot to go astray.  "The government had declared war on the left," Moore said later. "Nixon's appointment of Ford as Vice President and his resignation making Ford President seemed to be a continuing assault on America." Moore served 32 years of her life sentence. She was released in 2007 at the age of 77. less Seventeen days after Squeaky Fromme tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford, Sara Jane Moore seized her opportunity in front of the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.
On Sept. 22, 1975, driven by radical ... more Photo: Gary Fong, The Chronicle Image 35 of 42 Image 36 of 42 | Murder of Lester Garnier A 2003 Chronicle article called it "San Francisco's Coldest Case." On July 11, 1988, San Francisco police officer Lester Garnier left his Concord home after receiving two phone calls during dinner. He was found the next day in a Walnut Creek parking lot, shot dead in his Corvette. Almost immediately after Garnier's death, a theory emerged that his fellow cops had murdered him. Walnut Creek detectives interviewed female officers matching the description of two blondes who were reportedly seen in the area. Rumors circulated that Garnier, who had served as a vice officer, had witnessed SFPD officers engaging in untoward behavior and had to be silenced.  "The City didn't do right for Lester," said Mike Kemmitt, the department's former lieutenant of vice and Garnier's supervisor. "I always felt like we could have done more, that we could have shaken the bushes, gotten our snitches working. I'm kind of ashamed of myself for not pushing more."  His murder is one of the few unsolved police officer killings in the nation. No arrest has ever been made. less A 2003 Chronicle article called it "San Francisco's Coldest Case." On July 11, 1988, San Francisco police officer Lester Garnier left his Concord home after receiving two phone calls during dinner. He was found ... more Photo: Margo Garnier, Courtesy To The Chronicle Image 37 of 42 | Hans Reiser Like Scott Peterson, Hans Reiser has gone down as one of the Bay Area's most infamous wife-killers. For months, the former computer programmer denied knowledge of what had happened to his missing wife Nina, who disappeared on Sept. 5, 2006. Although no body had been found, Reiser was found guilty of first degree murder in 2008. Once the conviction came down, Reiser agreed to reveal the location of Nina's body in exchange for a second degree murder charge. Reiser took police to a shallow grave in the Oakland Hills and confessed to strangling her after she made a "cavalier" remark about taking full custody of their children. In 2012, an Alameda County civil jury awarded Reiser's two young children $60 million in the wrongful death case of their mother.  less Like Scott Peterson, Hans Reiser has gone down as one of the Bay Area's most infamous wife-killers.
For months, the former computer programmer denied knowledge of what had happened to his missing wife Nina, who ... more Photo: Laura Morton, Special To The Chronicle Image 38 of 42 | Ex-cop murder spree It has all the makings of an episode of CSI. Cocaine, prostitutes, rape, murder, bodies dumped in Golden Gate Park — all by an ex-cop. In 1983, former Millbrae police officer Jack Sully was convicted of the murder of five women and one man. The victims were four prostitutes, a man who may have been a pimp and a woman who offered to sell Sully cocaine. The prosecution presented "evidence that Sully derived pleasure from torturing his six murder victims and mutilating their bodies." Three of the bodies were found stuffed into barrels and left in Golden Gate Park. The barrels bore Sully's fingerprints. Sully is currently on death row. less It has all the makings of an episode of CSI. Cocaine, prostitutes, rape, murder, bodies dumped in Golden Gate Park — all by an ex-cop. In 1983, former Millbrae police officer Jack Sully was convicted of the ... more Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle Image 39 of 42 Movies and TV shows love to depict thrilling prison breaks and courthouse escapes — but it happened in real life in Marin County in 1970 with deadly, devastating consequences.

Jonathan P. Jackson entered the Marin County Courthouse armed with a carbine and highway flares and shouted, "Everybody freeze!"

He handed off more weapons to three convicts who were in court to testify in the case of his older brother George L. Jackson, who was being held at San Quentin for the alleged murder of a white prison guard. The men spent 20 minutes deciding who to take as hostages, allowing time for a squad of San Quentin prison guards, sharpshooters from the Marin County Sheriff's Office and various other law enforcement to gather at the courthouse. When the men emerged from the courthouse, hostages in tow, they were ordered to drop their guns. They didn't. The convicts opened fire, and when the shooting ended, three convicts and Superior Court Judge Harold Haley were dead. Three female jurors, an assistant district attorney and another convict were wounded. less Movies and TV shows love to depict thrilling prison breaks and courthouse escapes — but it happened in real life in Marin County in 1970 with deadly, devastating consequences.

Jonathan P. Jackson entered the

... more Photo: Roger Bockrath / San Rafael Independent Journal Image 40 of 42 Image 41 of 42 | San Mateo County serial killer On April 1, 1976, 19-year-old Denise Lampe left the Serramonte Mall in Daly City and returned to her car, a 1964 Mustang. Her body was found that evening in the parking lot. She was one of five young women murdered in San Mateo County in the early months of 1976 — slayings that have never been solved. The others were 18-year-old Ronnie Cascio, found stabbed 30 times at the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica; 14-year-old Tanya Blackwell, discovered on Gypsy Hill Road in the city a few months later; 17-year-old Paula Baxter; and Carol Lee Booth, 26, who was reported missing in March and found dead a month later in South San Francisco. Many of the young women were believed to be experiencing car troubles when they were assaulted and killed. The FBI recently launched a task force to look into the murders anew. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at (415) 553-7400. less On April 1, 1976, 19-year-old Denise Lampe left the Serramonte Mall in Daly City and returned to her car, a 1964 Mustang. Her body was found that evening in the parking lot. She was one of five young women ... more Photo: Handout/Federal Bureau Of Invest Image 42 of 42 Infamous 'Zebra killer’ found dead in San Quentin cell 1 / 42 Back to Gallery

One of the four “Zebra killers,” whose string of racially motivated slayings terrorized San Francisco in the 1970s, was found dead in his cell at San Quentin State Prison, corrections officials said Friday.

The body of J.C.X. Simon, who was accused nearly 40 years ago of killing 14 random victims and wounding seven others on San Francisco streets, died alone in his cell of unknown causes Thursday night, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was pronounced dead at 11:59 p.m. inside the prison.

“The cause of death is pending an autopsy,” said Krissi Khokhobashvili, a spokeswoman for the corrections department. “All that can be released at this point is that he was unresponsive in his cell.”

The 69-year-old Simon was convicted in San Francisco of two counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and assault with a deadly weapon in 1976 after the killing spree, which prompted what authorities said was the biggest manhunt in the city’s history. He was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole when he died.

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Simon and three other black men — Larry Green, Manuel Moore and Jessie Lee Cooks — went on a six-month rampage from October 1973 to April 1974. They targeted white people, mostly at night along the Divisadero Street corridor.

The 14 victims were mostly shot in the back or the back of the head execution-style. The slayings were called the “Zebra” murders because of the special radio band, the Z channel, that investigators used.

The seven victims who survived the attacks were crucial in finding the culprits, detectives said.

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One of the survivors was future Mayor Art Agnos, who was then a 35-year-old social worker. He had left a meeting in Potrero Hill on Dec. 13, 1973, and was walking to his car when he said he heard a loud popping noise at Wisconsin and 23rd streets. Agnos at first tried to calm the people fleeing the gunshots when he realized he had been shot twice in the back.

The intensive manhunt, overseen by Mayor Joseph Alioto, lasted several months and included a $30,000 reward for information about the killers. At one point the mayor authorized police to stop and question any black man who resembled witnesses’ descriptions. The practice, which resulted in the questioning of hundreds of innocent men, was eventually halted by a federal judge.

Police, acting on a tip by an informant, eventually raided an apartment complex at 844 Grove St., in the old Fillmore district. Seven men were arrested, but only Cooks, Green, Moore and Simons were charged.

The killings were among several horrific and bloody events in the late 1960s and 1970s by San Francisco radicals, including the Zodiac serial killer, the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Rev. Jim Jones, who forced his followers to drink cyanide-laced punch. Dan White also murdered Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk that decade.

The four Zebra killers were convicted and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, which has been denied repeatedly.

Green, 63, is serving his sentence at California State Prison-Solano in Vacaville; Moore, 70, is at Ironwood State Prison (Riverside County); and Cooks, 70, is at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.

The men have never been allowed to be in the same institution, corrections officials said.

Peter Fimrite is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: pfimrite@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @pfimrite

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