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‘Chinese Zodiac Killer’ bragged he couldn’t be caught. He’s in court today.

ALBANY – A self-described “Chinese Zodiac Killer” who allegedly mailed more than 100 threatening letters – including one to the White House – boasting of past murders and plans for a “killing spree” is set to appear in US District Court on Broadway on Tuesday afternoon.

Jesse Bartlett, 45, of LaFargeville in Jefferson County, who allegedly bragged of a “kill list” topped by the homeless, runaways and immigrants, sexual predation and the consumption of human flesh, warned investigators on May 15 that their time to stop him was running out, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit filed in a criminal complaint.

“YOUR TIME TO ‘CATCH’ ME IS NEARLY OUT. I GROW WEARY OF YOUR INABILITY TO CAPTURE ME AND TO INFORM THE PUBLIC OF MY PRESENCE,” Bartlett allegedly wrote.

Instead, the agent stated, it was Bartlett’s letter-writing spree that was about to end. On Thursday, the FBI arrested Bartlett and charged him with mailing threatening letters, a federal crime which carries up to five years in prison upon conviction. Unlike the notorious Zodiac Killer, who was blamed for killing five people and wounding two others in the late 1960s in the San Francisco area, Bartlett has not been charged with any deaths.

Bartlett, who was detained after his arrest, is scheduled for a detention hearing before US Magistrate Judge Christian Hummel on Tuesday at 1:30 pm

The defendant’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Michael McGeown-Walker, declined to comment when reached by the Times Union on Tuesday.

Alexander Paul Wentworth-Ping is prosecuting the case for US Attorney Carla Freedman.

In December, the Albany field office of the FBI sent a memo to the Capital Region media outlets asking them to be on the lookout for letters from a purported “Chinese Zodiac Killer” after television news stations received letters. The Times Union — which in August 1973 received a cryptic letter from a person claiming to be the Zodiac Killer in California — did not receive such a letter.

The criminal complaint said Bartlett mailed the letters throughout New York state, as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington DC In detailing Bartlett’s deeds, the FBI agent’s affidavit left little to the imagination.

The letters repeatedly stated plans to murder an unidentified bus driver, but it was far from the sole boast.


On July 20, 2021, Bartlett sent a letter to a media outlet in Melville, Long Island, the location of Newsday, the complaint said.

The letter said: “I HAVE ALREADY KILLED SOMEONE IN THE NEW YORK AREA. HEAR MY PROPHECY: I WILL KILL AGAIN. HELL WANTS MORE SOULS. I AM A SEXUAL PREDATOR AND A KILLER AMONG THE LIVING. I AM NOT HIDING. I AM VERY EASY TO FIND …BECAUSE I NEED TO BE FOUND. BUT I MUST *TEST YOU.”

It said: “I WILL MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF ANYONE WHO REFUSES TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC OF MY EXISTENCE.”

On Aug. 21, the letter to Biden said: “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.”

The complaint said Bartlett sent more threatening letters over the next several months to a Binghamton media outfit, a municipality in New Jersey, the New York State Police and, in February, to a retail company in Syracuse. In the Syracuse letter, Bartlett allegedly stated: “EACH MONTHLY LETTER CONTAINS MY CURRENT KILL COUNT — AND WHETHER OR NOT I FEASTED ON THE FLESH OF MY VICTIMS.

On May 12, the FBI began to close in on Bartlett. The agent said investigators watched and filmed Bartlett drop 21 envelopes into US Postal Service bins in Watertown and Clayton. Three days later, Bartlett allegedly dropped 21 more letters off at the Watertown bin. Investigators found 42 letters in the bins all sent by the self-described “Chinese Zodiac Killer” mailed to law enforcement offices, politicians and religious institutions, the complaint said.

The May 12 letters were consistent with earlier ones but this time they were signed by “Aleister Crowley,” the name of a late British occultist. who is repeatedly referenced earlier throughout letters. In the May 15 letters, Bartlett claimed he had killed males and females every month and suggested he was killing victims who were homeless, runaways and were immigrants.

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