Who is Heriberto Seda? Serial Killer Explained

By Lori Meek
Published: June 24, 2023
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Who is Heriberto Seda - Serial Killer Explained

Who is Heriberto Seda? After the release of Catching Killers Season 3, we discuss one of the subjects of the true crime series. Disturbing details ahead.

Netflix’s true crime docuseries Catching Killers has just premiered its third season. In four new episodes, the show details the arduous process of bringing some of the U.S.’s most notorious serial murderers to justice. Episode two, Night Terror: The New York Zodiac Killer,” centers on the crimes and eventual capture of Heriberto Seda, a man who terrorized the city of Manhattan in the early 90s after feeling “inspired” by the original Zodiac murders in California. 

Catching Killers describes the case exclusively from the perspective of the NYPD detectives and the FBI agents involved, leaving little room for Seda’s disturbing story. Here are more details about Heriberto Seda, his crimes, and the connection between him and the San Francisco Zodiac Killer.

Who is Heriberto Seda?

Heriberto Seda, age 55 in the present day, is a serial killer who was active in New York City between 1990 and 1993. The press dubbed him the New York Zodiac Killer or the Copycat Zodiac Killer. 

Born in 1967 in New York City and raised in poverty by a single mother, Seda developed a fascination with firearms during his teenage years. From the outside, he was a deeply religious young man who attended church, didn’t date, and earned good grades. 

Signs of trouble started brewing after he was expelled from school at 16 years old for having a homemade zip gun, the same type of gun he would later use on his victims. 

As a young adult, Seda had been rejected by the military twice and was unemployed and living with his mother and step-sister. He was constantly at odds with his sister, even physically abusing her. 

He loved reading about firearms and serial killers. He was particularly fascinated with Ted Bundy and the never identified Zodiac Killer, who terrorized San Francisco in the 1960s. Hoping to convince the world of the Zodiac’s return, Seda began his killing spree in 1990. 

What did Heriberto Sedar do?

Sega shot nine people between 1990 and 1996 in New York City, killing three of them and critically injuring four. He believed he would never be caught because he used homemade weapons, which are almost impossible to trace. 

The first two victims he shot in March 1990, Mario Orozco and Germán Montenegro, survived their injuries. Unfortunately, the third victim, Joe Price, passed away months after the shooting. In June of that same year, Seda shot 30-year-old Larry Parham in the chest, but he survived. 

Arguably, the murder of Patricia Fonte in the summer of 1992 was Seda’s most brutal. She fought back, and he responded by stabbing her over 100 times. 

In 1993 he shot Jim Weber, Diane Ballard, and John DiAcone. Sadly, the former died from his injuries. Because of the high crime level, New York was experiencing at the time, Seda’s final shooting went pretty much unnoticed by the task force put together to find him. 

Even more infuriatingly, the killer was arrested in 1994 for possessing a homemade firearm but was subsequently let go. 

Why is Heriberto Seda known as the New York Zodiac Killer?

Like the original Zodiac, Seda would send taunting letters to the police and press, bragging about his kills and making threats of further violence. He claimed to choose his victims based on their astrological signs, and there were even talks of him engaging in dark occult practices. 

At first, authorities did consider the possibility of the Zodiac’s return, but they quickly determined they were dealing with a copycat instead. 

Seda thought he would never be caught and believed himself smarter than the police. For several years, he was right. Despite a particular task put together by the NYPD to catch him, they were eventually disbanded without solving the case. 

In 1996, six years after the shootings first started, Seda got into an altercation at home with his step-sister, Gladys Reyes, and her boyfriend. Despite being shot by her abusive older brother, the young woman managed to escape and contact authorities. 

While in custody, Seda had to give a handwritten statement of the event. In the letter, he used some symbols he would leave on his previous taunting Zodiac notes. Police matched the handwriting and questioned Seda until he confessed to being the New York Zodiac Killer. 

How long was Heriberto Seda sentenced in prison?

After his eventual capture, Heriberto Seda was sentenced to a total of 232 years in prison. He received 83 years and six months for the three murders and 152 years and six months for six counts of attempted murder. 

Thankfully, he will never walk the streets again.

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