The reign of the “Zebra” killers began on October 20, 1973–with the machete decapitation of Quita Hague and the near-murder of her husband, Richard.
Almost immediately after the two Black Muslims finished hacking their victims, flashbulbs began popping. Two other cars, driven by members of the Nation of Islam, had pulled up
Several camera-toting Muslims started taking pictures of the blood-soaked murder scene–as evidence of Larry Green’s and Jessie Lee Cooks’ worthiness as Death Angels.
A series of murders followed.
On October 30–ten days after the abduction of Richard and Quita Hague–Jessie Lee Cooks struck again.
He shot Frances Rose, a physical therapist, four times in the head and neck as she sat in her car at the entrance of the parking lot to the University of California Extension.
Cooks was arrested within a few minutes and only a short distance from the scene, still in possession of the murder weapon, a revolver.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 14, 1974.
He would be tried again and convicted of other murders, along with the other “Zebra” defendants on March 13, 1976.
On November 25, Salem Erakat, a grocer, was found shot in the back of the head in his mom-and-pop market, which lay across the street from the San Francisco Federal Building.
On December 11, a San Francisco resident named Paul Dancik was fatally shot three times as he used a public telephone.
On December 13, Arthur Agnos, a former administrative aide to San Francisco Assemblyman Leo T. McCarthy, was shot and wounded while standing on a street corner, talking to two friends.
He would survive and later serve as Mayor of San Francisco from 1988 to 1992.
On Christmas Eve, Larry Craig Green and J.C. Simon asked Anthony Harris to help them take some packages to a nearby beach.
“When I unloaded the truck, I recall getting a lot of blood on my hands,” Harris later testified as a witness for the prosecution. He asked Simon and Green what was in the packages.
“They said, it was probably a dog or a cat,” said Harris. Later, he learned that the package had held a human body. But he never learned whose.
Harris helped to dispose of similar packages “about 40-some times.”
Harris was taken along by the “Zebra” killers on several shootings. Later, Harris reasoned: “I guess they thought that, sooner or later, I would join their little clique.”
One night, Harris, J.C. Simon and Manuel Moore parked their black Cadillac near an apartment complex. Simon and Moore got out, leaving Harris in the vehicle.
“The next thing I knew,” said Harris, “I heard a gunshot. Manuel started running from the same area that the gunshot came from.”
Moore and Simon jumped into the car. As the vehicle sped off, Harris saw “what appeared to be a body” lying on the sidewalk.
On another occasion, Harris asked his comrades what had happened after he heard shots ring out.
“Just watch television or listen to the radio, and you’ll see what happened,” one of them said.
Harris learned from the news later on that “somebody had been shot and killed.”
Between killings, Harris and his friends attended regular meetings at the Black Self-Help, the Muslim-owned furniture-moving company in San Francisco.
The Black Self-Help
At some of these meetings, as many as 40 to 50 or more Muslims were present.
“They were talking about killing people,” Harris later testified. Films were shown “of the Watts riots [in 1965] and different riots taking place throughout the past, black people being beaten down by the police and shot.”
The meetings’ participants were asked, “Could we allow this to continue? They said the only way to stop it was to act and be vicious…like the police department.
“That you had to…be able to go out and just deliberately take a baby and smash his head against the wall and kill him and, if you have to, even drink the blood to show how vicious you are.
“And they showed us a large number of pictures” on a bulletin board “of a lot of bald-headed men with little white wings on their necks, and identified each guy as being members of the Death Angels.”
Harris was told that “if I wanted to be a member of the Death Angels, that I’d have to go out and kill people to get some wings.”
Not only was the wearing of a pair of white wings a symbol of belonging to the Death Angels, so was a shaved head, stated Harris.
Only certified members of the Death Angels could enter Muslim temples with shaved heads. Anyone else who entered such a temple with a shaved head “can be killed or put out of the temple for coming in like that.”