John Paul Knowles
Serial killer, John Paul knowles, the Casanova Killer
Paul John Knowles, born April 17, 1946 – December 18, 1974), also known as The Casanova Killer, was an American serial killer tied to the
deaths of 18 people in 1974, though he claimed to have taken 35 lives.

Early life

Paul Knowles was born in Florida, his father gave him up to live in foster homes after he was convicted of a petty crime. Knowles himself was
first incarcerated at the age of 19, and in the years following he spent more time in prison. In early 1974, Knowles was serving time at Raiford
Prison in Florida (now known as Florida State Prison) when he began corresponding with a divorcee in San Francisco named Angela Covic, who
made a trip to the prison to visit Knowles. Upon her arrival, Knowles proposed to Covic. After she accepted his proposal, she became
instrumental in getting Knowles released from prison by paying for his legal counsel. Upon his release, Knowles flew directly to California to be
with her. After a psychic warned her of the entry of a new dangerous man in her life, Covic ended the relationship and called off the wedding.

Knowles claimed to have murdered three people on the streets of San Francisco the night that Covic broke off their relationship. Devastated by
the rejection, Knowles returned to Jacksonville, Florida. He was soon arrested after stabbing a bartender during a fight, but he picked a lock in
his detention cell and escaped on July 26, 1974.

Soon after this, Knowles claimed to have picked up a teenage girl who was hitchhiking and killed her just for sport, but her identity remains

A the end of August, Knowles showed up in Musella, Georgia, and forced his way into the home of Kathie Sue Pierce, who was there with her
three-year-old son. Knowles used a cut telephone cord to strangle her in her bathroom, but left her child physically unharmed.

On September 3, 1974, Knowles entered Scott's Inn, a roadside pub near Lima, Ohio and met William Bates, a 32-year-old account executive for
the Ohio Power Company. The bartender, who knew Bates, recalled that Bates and a young redheaded man had several drinks that evening
and left together. Bates' wife then reported him missing, and the police realized that his car was missing as well. Near the bar, police found an
abandoned vehicle that was subsequently traced back to Alice Curtis. In October, Bates' nude body was found. He had been strangled and
dumped in the woods.

Now driving Bates' car, he moved on to a campground in Ely, Nevada, where on September 18, 1974 he bound and shot two elderly campers,
Emmett and Lois Johnson. Because it was a seemingly random murder, there were no leads until Knowles later confessed to the crime, though
he did use their credit cards for a short period to pay his expenses.

On September 21, 1974, Bates' killing spree continued, this time in Seguin, Texas. There, he came upon stranded motorcyclist Charlynn Hicks,
whom he abducted and raped before strangling her with her own pantyhose and dragging her body through a barbed-wire fence. Her body
was found four days later.

Traveling then to Birmingham, Alabama, Knowles met beautician Ann Dawson on September 23, 1974. It is unclear as to whether or not he
abducted her or if she traveled with him willingly, but she paid the bills while they traveled together until he killed her on September 29, 1974.
Knowles claims to have dumped her body into the Mississippi River, but it was never recovered.

Knowles arrived in Marlborough, Connecticut in the middle of October, 1974, where he continued his vicious killing spree. He entered the home
of Karen Wine and her 16-year-old daughter Dawn on October 16, where he bound and raped them, before killing them with a nylon stocking.
The only thing found missing from their home was a tape recorder.

By October 19, Knowles had made his way to Woodford, Virginia, where he broke into the home of 53-year-old Doris Hovey and shot her to
death with her husband's rifle, then wiped his prints from the gun and placed it beside her body. Afterward, police would find no signs of
robbery to offer them a motive in the case.

While bar-hopping in Atlanta on November 8, Knowles met British journalist Sandy Fawkes, impressing her with his "gaunt good looks." They
spent the night together, but, according to Fawkes, he was repeatedly unable to perform when they attempted to have sex over the next few
days, suggesting possible impotence with a willing companion. They parted ways on November 10, but the next day Knowles picked up an
acquaintance of Fawkes, Susan MacKenzie, and demanded sex from her at gunpoint. She escaped and notified police, but when patrolmen tried
to stop him, Knowles brandished a sawed-off shotgun and made his escape.

Days later, in West Palm Beach, Florida, he invaded the home of invalid Beverly Mabee, where he abducted her sister and stole their car. From
there, he traveled to Fort Pierce, Florida. For reasons unknown, he dropped off his hostage without harm or incident.

On the morning of November 17, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Eugene Campbell recognized the stolen car near Perry, Florida and
attempted to make an arrest, but after he was pulled over, Knowles was able to wrestle the officer's pistol away from him. Taking Campbell
hostage, he drove away in his patrol car, later using its siren to stop motorist James Meyer in order to ditch the Highway Patrol vehicle and
continue in a less conspicuous automobile. Now burdened with two prisoners, Knowles took the two men into a remote, wooded area in Pulaski
County, Georgia and handcuffed them to a tree before shooting each of them in the head at close range. Shortly thereafter, Knowles attempted
to crash through a police roadblock, but he lost control of the vehicle and smashed into a tree. He escaped the vehicle on foot and fired shots at
the pursuing officers. A chaotic footrace ensued, with Knowles pursued by dogs and helicopters. He was finally cornered by an armed civilian
with a shotgun, who escorted Knowles to a nearby residence where a call to the police was made. The maniacal crime spree of John Paul
Knowles had come to an end... almost.

Once in custody, Knowles claimed to be responsible for 35 murders, but only 18 were ever corroborated.

On December 18, 1974, Sheriff Earl Lee and G.B.I. Agent Ronnie Angel were traveling down I-20 with Knowles, who was handcuffed in the back
seat. Their destination was Henry County, Georgia where Knowles had dumped a handgun he had taken from Florida State Trooper Charles
Eugene Campbell, later killing him with the same weapon. There was no security screen in the car, and Knowles had a concealed paperclip on
his person that he used to pick the lock on his handcuffs. Once free, Knowles grabbed Lee's handgun, discharging it through the holster in the
process. While Lee was struggling with Knowles and attempting to keep control of the vehicle, Angel fired three shots into Knowles' chest,
killing him instantly. Ronnie Angel has refused to speak publicly about the incident since it occurred.


-Alice Curtis was a 65-year-old resident of Jacksonville, Florida. Knowles gagged her on July 26, 1974, while stealing her belongings. She choked
to death on her gag.
-Lillian and Mylette Anderson, aged 11 and 7 respectively, were strangled early August 1974 and subsequently dumped in a nearby swamp.
-Marjorie Howe lived in Atlantic Beach, Florida. She was strangled with a nylon stocking. The motive, apparently, was that Knowles stole her
-Victim #5 remains unnamed. She was a hitchhiker whom Knowles raped and strangled.
-Kathy Pierce was strangled with the cord of her telephone on August 23, 1974. Her three-year-old son, who was also present, remained
-William Bates was murdered on September 3, after having shared some drinks with Knowles in Lima, Ohio. His body was not discovered until
October. His car, money and credit cards were all taken by Knowles.
-Emmett and Lois Johnson were out camping in Ely, Nevada, where Knowles murdered both on September 18.
-Charlynn Hicks was killed on September 21. Her motorcycle broke down in Seguin, Texas. Knowles raped her before strangling her and
dragging her body through some barbed wire.
-Ann Dawson, from Birmingham, Alabama, met Knowles on September 23. They traveled together for a while, until Knowles killed her on
September 29. Her body was never found.
-Karen Wine and her 16 year old daughter, were killed on October 16. They were bound, raped, and strangled with a nylon stocking. They were
discovered by Wine's older daughter Cheryl. A tape recorder was missing from their home.
-Doris Hovey was 53 years old and lived in Woodford, Virginia. She was shot to death by Knowles with her husband's rifle on the October 19.
-Carswell Carr and his daughter met Knowles on November 6 in Macon, Georgia, and invited him over to his house. Subsequently, Knowles
stabbed Carr, who had a heart attack before Knowles strangled his daughter. He attempted to engage in necrophilia with her body, but failed.
-Edward Hilliard and Debbie Griffin were hitchhiking near Milledgeville, Georgia, on November 2. Hilliard's body was found in nearby woods, but
Griffin's remains were never discovered. Knowles was not proven to have murdered them, but he was under strong suspicion.
-Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Charles Eugene Campbell was abducted while on patrol in Perry, Florida and shot by Knowles in Pulaski County,
-James Meyer was a businessman whom Knowles took hostage along with Campbell. Knowles handcuffed them to a tree and shot them with
the trooper's gun.
photo of John_Paul_Knowles
John Paul knowles, serial killer mugshot
Upon his escape from prison, Knowles went on a murderous spree across the country, beginning in
Jacksonville on the very same night of his escape. Knowles broke into the home of 65-year-old Alice Curtis.
or sell. Curtis later choked to death on her own dentures, though whether or not her death occurred while
Knowles was there or after he left the residence is unknown.

Knowles also stole her car, but decided to dump it less than a week later upon realizing that police had
connected him to the crime and were advertising him as a wanted fugitive. On the street where he intended
dumped the car, he kidnapped them both, strangled them, and buried their bodies in a nearby swamp. Their
bodies were not recovered until five months later, in January, after Knowles had confessed to the crime.

Beach, Florida. She either invited him or was forced by him to go to her apartment, where he strangled her
with a nylon stocking. He then stole her television, which he later gave to a former girlfriend.
killing them both, but his plan went awry when a policeman stopped him for a traffic violation. Unaware of who
Still driving William Bates' stolen car, Knowles picked up two hitchhikers in Key West, Florida with the intention of
Still driving William Bates' stolen car, Knowles picked up two hitchhikers in Key West, Florida with the intention of
lawyer's suggestion of surrender, but arranged a meeting with him that lasted only long enough to hand over a
taped confession. He slipped out of town before police were informed of his presence.

spend the night. Over drinks, he stabbed Carr to death and then strangled Carr's 15-year-old daughter. After
murdering the girl, Knowles attempted to engage in necrophilia with her corpse, but his attempts were
unsuccessful. In the wake of his flight from Macon, Knowles was also suspected in the November 2 murder of
hitchhiker Edward Hilliard, found in some nearby woods, and his companion Debbie Griffin, whose body has never
been recovered.
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