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I'm not the Zodiac. And if I was, I certainly wouldn't tell you.
~ Allen during his interrogation.

Arthur Leigh Allen, also known as Lee, is the secondary antagonist (or possibly the main antagonist) of the 2007 crime movie Zodiac based off the bestselling true crime book by political cartoonist Robert Graysmith. He is a criminal and the the prime suspect of being the Zodiac Killer in the Zodiac Killer case, as Robert Graysmith pursues the idea that Allen is the murderer.

He was portrayed by John Carroll Lynch who also played Sheriff Bob Ryan in Gothika and Twisty the Clown and Mr. Jingles in American Horror Story: Freak Show and American Horror Story: 1984, respectively.

Biography

In 1971, a friend of Arthur Leigh Allen tells the San Francisco police that Allen wanted to hunt for people using a gun and a flashlight to see in the dark, and that if he were to get away with his crimes he would reveal no motive to the murders and would call himself "Zodiac", sending letters to the police to mess with them. Allen also broke down claiming that this was an idea he had thought about for a long time and Zodiac would be the name he would use to commit the killings, as well as shooting out the tiers of a school bus and picking out the kids, whom he dubs "little darlings". Allen had also been up to Lake Berryessa.

San Francisco police inspectors Dave Toschi starts to suspect Allen is the killer, citing the fact that, like the killer, Allen is ambidextrous, and had been fired from his job as a school teacher for molesting his students.

Toschi, Inspector Bill Armstrong and Sgt. Jack Mulanax later interview Allen, where he denies having the incriminating conversation and only finding out about the Zodiac Killer in the news. Allen claims he gave his statements to an officer in Vallejo after the murder at Lake Berryessa, and that he told him that he had gone to the lake to skindive and that he was alone, although he met a couple there. He also asks to be called "Lee", and claims that he had come home with bloody knives in his car after killing a chicken for dinner. Allen incites that he was in Southern California in 1966 where the murder of Cheri Jo Bates took place. He also denies being ambidextrous.

Allen denies the allegations about threatening to kill school children until he is asked about how he felt after being fired for touching his students. He bluntly states that he isn't the Zodiac Killer, and would refuse to tell the investigators if he were the killer. Toschi comments on Allen's watch and asks him to hand it over, discovering that it is a Zodiac wristwatch. Allen finds out that he's likely being interviewed for his interest in the book "The Most Dangerous Game", a book featured in one of the Zodiac's letters, and claims it was his favorite book in high school. Allen is allowed to leave shortly after the interrogation.

Toschi, Armstrong and Mulanax interview Allen's brother, John and his wife Catherine about Allen's behavior, noting that his interactions with his students were indeed true. Catherine notes that one of the Zodiac's letters spells "Christmas" as "Christmass", similar to a letter Allen sent to his brother a few years back. In 1972, Catherine notes that she and John arranged for Allen to get help from a social worker, but he only went twice, and the social worker believed that Allen was capable of committing murder. Allen also had numerous firearms, had attended the Navy and also trained in coding and ciphering. Toschi and other investigators gain a search warrant to look through Allen's trailer, finding it invested with squirrels, gloves, military boots and guns before Allen arrives back home.

Allen's handwriting is later revealed to not be a match with either hand, confirming that he is not ambidextrous and frustrating Toschi, and he is later demoted for supposedly forging a Zodiac letter. In 1978, political cartoonist Robert Graysmith interviews Linda del Buono, a friend of Darlene Ferrin, one of the Zodiac's victims. Linda claims that she and Darlene hosted a "painting party", and that she hung out with many men despite being married. However, one person who claimed to have killed somebody when he was in the Navy invited himself to Darlene's place and repeatedly brought her gifts, and a couple weeks later she was murdered. Although Graysmith assumes that he was Rick Marshall, Linda says that he was called "Lee".

Graysmith goes to Toschi's house and claims that Allen is the Zodiac, and that Allen was born on December 18th. Allen and Toschi go to a restaurant to discuss circumstantial evidence that implicates Allen as the murderer, although Toschi is impressed, he can't directly confirm Allen is the Zodiac and leaves. In 1983, Graysmith tracks Allen down to a a Vallejo Ace Hardware store where he works as a sales clerk, upon asking how he can help Graysmith, the two stare back at each other, knowing who the other is as Graysmith leaves. In 1991, Zodiac victim Michael Mageau identifies Allen as the Zodiac from a police mugshot, claiming that he is confident that Allen was the man who shot him.

A year later in 1992, Allen is found dead in his home of a heart attack before police can possibly charge him with the murders. In 2002 his DNA and handwriting are proven to not be a match to the Zodiac's, although Graysmith hasn't received any anonymous calls since Allen's death. Allen is still considered the prime suspect in the entire case and has not been ruled out as a suspect.

Gallery

Trivia

  • In the original non-fiction book that inspired the movie adaptation, Allen is named "Robert Hall Starr".
  • It is intentionally left ambiguous if Allen is the Zodiac.

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