|“||I'm going to start killing because I'm not getting no sex.||”|
— Seda, before the murders
A native New Yorker, Seda was born in 1967 and lived with his mother and his half-sister, Gladys "Chachi" Reyes. Though he idolized serial killer Ted Bundy, he claimed to be deeply religious and attended church regularly. He never dated, kept to himself and was unemployed, making money only by leaving open plastic bags in the return slots of pay phones and vending machines, waiting a few days and then collecting the change that had been left inside. He spent his free time reading magazines about guns and violence such as Soldier of Fortune as well as books about serial killers. One infamous killer he idolized and kept scrapbooks of was San Francisco's Zodiac Killer, whom he viewed as a servant of God. When Gladys grew older, Seda became physically abusive towards her, but mostly stopped around 1987. When Seda was 16, he dropped out of high school when a firearm was found in his possession.
Killings, Capture, and Incarceration
Over time, Seda's obsession with the Zodiac drove him to start planning a series of copycat killings himself. He assembled a small arsenal of explosives and ammunition and crafted his own zip guns, the barrels of which he could change in order to avoid the slugs being matched in ballistics. Like the original Zodiac, he also planned to suddenly stop killing. In November of 1989, he sent a letter to the city's 13th Precinct with a message warning that people would be killed. It contained a circle divided into sections representing the zodiac signs. His first known victim was Mario Orozco, a Scorpio, who survived a shot in the back. Seda wrapped a note reading "This is the Zodiac" around the zip gun he used and left it at the scene. Three weeks later, he shot and injured Germán Montenegro, a Gemini, through the liver and searched his pockets for a passport. On the last of May, Seda shot 78-year-old Joe Proce, a Taurus, and left a note by his body. Because Proce was expected to survive, the case was treated as a robbery. Also, since he was very senile, he couldn't remember many details of the attack. By now, the investigating detectives were suspecting that they were dealing with a serial case. On June 24, Proce died of the injuries he sustained.
When letters from Seda listing the victims and their zodiac signs arrived at "60 Minutes" and The New York Post, the police connected the shootings and feared that they were facing another Son of Sam. The effort to catch him was called "Operation Watchdog". People started wondering if the real Zodiac had returned. On June 19, Seda shot a homeless man named Larry Parham, a Cancer, after taking his wallet to check his ID; Parham survived. The New York Post received another letter, which contained the original Zodiac's symbol and a list of victims. By now, the handwriting of the letters and the witness descriptions had proven that Seda was not the original Zodiac, though he kept claiming to be so in the letter, even taking credit for known murders committed by the Zodiac. For some unknown reason, Seda then went on hiatus and didn't return until 1992, when he shot 39-year-old Patricia Fonti, a Leo, with a .22 zip gun. When she grabbed him and a struggle ensued, he panicked and stabbed her over 100 times. He didn't attack anyone else until next year, when he attacked three people, one of whom died. They were Jim Weber, a Libra; Joseph Diacone, a Virgo and also the one whose encounter was fatal; and Diane Ballard, a Taurus. At first, the shootings weren't connected to him. On March 10, 1994, Seda was arrested for being in possession of a zip gun. Because it was incorrectly labeled at the forensic lab, it wasn't tested. On June 10, he shot a man non-fatally, but the attack wasn't reported; this victim was never officially identified.
On August 1, The New York Post received another letter from Seda. It contained a list of the victims of the 1992 and 1993 victims, as well as a strange totem-pole code and the phrase "sleep my little dead how we lothe [sic] them". Though New York was sent into a state of panic once again, Seda stopped killing. On June 18, 1996, he became furious when Gladys brought a male friend to their apartment and talked to him in her room. When she wouldn't throw the friend out, Seda grabbed one of his zip guns and fired into the wall and then shot Gladys in the back when she fled out the front door. Surviving the sustained gunshot wound, she made it to another apartment and called 911 while her friend was left with Seda in their apartment. Seventeen police officers set up outside on the street while Seda fired at them from the apartment window. After several hours, he gave up and allowed himself to be arrested. When he wrote down his confession for the shooting, he signed it with three sevens and the Zodiac cross he had also signed his letters with. When a police officer noticed it, Seda became a suspect for being the New York Zodiac. They took his finger and palm prints and rushed them to comparison with the case evidence. In June of 1998, Seda was sentenced to 83-and-a-half years, meaning he won't be eligible for parole until he is 113. In a separate trial, he was sentenced to 152-and-a-half years for his attempted murders. He is still serving his sentence and spends his time reading the Bible and citing scripture to other inmates.
Seda targeted seemingly random people and would shoot them with homemade 9mm or .22 zip-guns. Patricia Fonti was also stabbed over 100 times when she fought back. During his first shootings, he carried out blitz-attacks, but he later approached his victims under false pretenses. His goal was to kill twelve people, one person for each Zodiac sign. For this purpose, he would, on at least some occasions, look through the victims' personal belongings to find some form of ID in order to find out their dates of birth.
- March 8: Mario Orozco, 49 (a Scorpio; survived; shot in the back)
- March 29: Germán Montenegro, 34 (a Gemini; survived; shot through the liver)
- May 31: Joseph Proce, 78 (a Taurus; shot in the kidney; died on June 24)
- June 19: Larry Parham, 30 (a Cancer; survived; shot in the chest)
- August 10, 1992: Patricia Fonti, 39 (a Leo; shot twice and stabbed 100+ times)
- June 4: Jim Weber, 42 (a Libra; survived; shot in the buttocks)
- July 20: Joseph Diacone, 40 (a Virgo; shot in the neck)
- October 2: Diane Ballard, 40 (a Taurus; survived; shot in the neck)
- June 10, 1994: An unidentified man (injured)
- June 18, 1996: The attack at his apartment:
- Gladys "Chachi" Reyes, 17 (his sister; injured; shot in the back)
- Wilber Rios, 23 (Gladys's boyfriend; briefly held hostage)
- Several unnamed police officers (attempted; shot at them, but missed)
On Criminal Minds
- Season Seven
- "True Genius" - Seda was mentioned along with Seito Sakakibara as an example of well-known Zodiac copycats. He may also have provided some of the inspiration for the unsub of the episode, Caleb Rossmore - Both are copycat serial killers greatly interested in the Zodiac Killer and kept scrapbooks of his crimes. Both also tried to give the impression that they were the original Zodiac. Also, the way the public responded to Caleb's killings is similar to the way people reacted during Seda's series of killings. Both were also ultimately caught after police stand-offs and incarcerated.
On Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders
- Season Two
- Il Mostro - While Seda was never directly mentioned or referenced on Beyond Borders, he appears to have been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Onario Alighieri - Both were serial killers and copycats who were deeply fascinated by the original killers they copied, copied the M.O.s of said original killers as much as they could, attempted to give the impression that they were the original killers, and met their ends during standoffs inside a female's home (though Seda was apprehended alive while Alighieri was killed).