23. ‘No Murder in Paradise’🍹🎰🎲🏜 (rev 021919 & rev 092319)

The Sundowner Casino and Hotel, Reno, NV: museumofgaminghistory.org photo


‘There is no murder in paradise’- a common maxim from the Stalinist Soviet era.

With K&M’s move to Reno in 1974 it meant that ‘paradise’ was the goal, and murder was off the menu, at least for K & M. Any murders suspected of being committed by Zodiac are not his as the motive was no longer there.

The last murder is a perhaps a slip up, another violent eruption from Larry Kane, with Donna Lass being his unfortunate victim, in 1970, while Joe K, L Kane and R Maloff had all just started working together in South Lake Tahoe, transitioning from The Bay Area. But it’s also possible K & M lured her there and set her up as ‘bait’, maybe in order to encourage Kane to move from SF. (Above 2 paragraphs revised 09/23/19)

After that if K & M were otherwise able to keep a watchful eye on Kane it’s doubtful he would have been able to commit any of the suspected Z murders father afield in the period from ’70 to ’74. Still, there are a couple of very suspicious Lake Tahoe area murders around that period (Grinell documents these very thoroughly on ZodiacCiphers.com). But Zodiac’s claim of 37 victims? Likely another red herring. (Update February 2019– the claim of 37 is from what now appears to be a forged 1974 letter)

By 1974 they must have been given the go ahead (and perhaps financing) by Mob interests to begin construction on the Sundowner Casino in Reno. sharon-stone-robert-de-niro-casino-1995-directed-by-martin-scorsese-F4P8YWI believe Joe K must have come up with the name: ‘Anatolia’ means ‘sunrise’ or ‘east’ in Greek and here at the other end of the world, in the wild west, it would be his Sundowner, recalling his own roots while at the same time accepting all the meanings the name might evoke for the general public (appropriate for a gambling establishment in paradise). And maybe there’s even a hint of Zodiac here, a private joke, as the sun has now set on our anti-hero. Meanwhile- Joe K’s parents passed in ’73 and ’74- making it easier for him perhaps to sever his ties with the East Bay area.

In creating the Zodiac persona, the-town-that-dreaded-sundowncombining aspects of the Arkansas Moonlight Murders, The Black Dahlia Murders, The Lipstick Killer and Jack the Ripper’s Butcher-fest, Joe K had created the successful serial killer ‘cover’ for Larry Kane that he had promised.

By the mid 70’s Kane had been returned to more direct Mob ties in Las Vegas, and was a suspect in another murder there, but managed to get away scot-free. The Sundowner ran until the mid-00’s…the Reno version of ‘paradise’ by that time having become somewhat ragged and tarnished. And we are left with a mything like no other.


Addendum 11/14/18 There were towns across the USA called ‘Sundown’ Towns. In most it meant African Americans were forbidden from staying overnight in a place…even from being on the streets after dark. In Antioch, California, the curfew was directed at Asians. There may be an implied threat in naming a casino ‘The Sundowner’.



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