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A New York man who called himself the “Chinese Zodiac Killer” in threatening letters sent around the Northeast earlier this year has pleaded guilty to mailing them.
Jesse Bartlett, 46, of LaFargeville, sent the disturbing letters to locations in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia. In the letters, the former school bus driver claimed to have eaten the flesh of the people he has murdered.
Recipients were private businesses, houses of worship, media outlets and government offices, including the White House.
“I MADE IT CLEAR THAT I WOULD MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF ANYONE WHO HAS KNOWLEDGE OF ME THAT REFUSES TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC OF MY EXISTENCE,” Bartlett wrote in a letter sent to the White House on Aug. 21, 2021.
Authorities focused their attention on Bartlett months after the first batch of letters were sent.
On May 12, the FBI recorded him dropping 21 envelopes into U.S. Postal Service boxes in Watertown and Clayton, and another 21 envelopes in the same Watertown bin three days later.
Bartlett was arrested on May 19. Investigators reportedly found five rifles, two shotguns and a high-capacity magazine in his home. They also discovered messages for the FBI on his walls, but their contents have not been disclosed.
Bartlett pleaded guilty to mailing the letters in a federal court in Albany on Friday.
He admitted to distributing the letters starting in April 2021, as per WWNY.
This is reportedly not Bartlett’s first run-in with the law. In 2010, he fatally shot a former friend who allegedly “invaded his home and threatened to kill him” and was cleared on the grounds of self-defense.
Notorious in the late 1960s, the “Zodiac Killer” was accused of killing at least five people and wounding two others in the San Francisco area.
Bartlett, on the other hand, has never been charged in any homicide case, as per the Times Union.
Bartlett also did not always identify himself as the “Chinese Zodiac Killer.” The May 12 letters were signed “Aleister Crowley,” a presumed reference to the late British occultist, which aligns with investigators’ discovery that Bartlett has an interest in black magic.
Barlett faces up to five years in prison.
He also faces up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 13, 2023.