SERIAL KILLER: ‘Casanova Killer’: Serial killer linked to at least 18 murders in 1974 started reign of terror in Jacksonville

Paul John Knowles claimed to have killed 35 people over a 7-month span

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Around the same time notorious serial killer Ted Bundy crossed the country kidnapping and murdering young women, another suspected serial killer that some have also described as handsome and charming was terrorizing victims in Florida and Georgia, and beyond.
His name was Paul John Knowles. He later came to be known as the “Casanova Killer.”
One journalist, who came to know him intimately, called him a “dreamboat” and said he looked like a “cross between Robert Redford and Ryan O’Neal.” But behind those good looks and polite demeanor, there was evil, investigators and families of victims said.
Knowles isn’t as widely known as Bundy, whose story rose to prominence in 2019 when Netflix released a popular documentary about his life, but some said his crimes were more heinous and more confounding. Unlike other well-known serial killers, Knowles followed no pattern.
Knowles is accused of indiscriminately shooting and strangling men, women, children and the elderly over a seven-month span in 1974. In some cases, the deaths involved sexual assault.
“Just about everywhere he went he left a body,” one former investigator said.
Knowles, who was born in Orlando in 1946, was formally accused of murdering four people in Georgia, two in Florida and one in Ohio, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported, but it is believed he killed at least 18 people and maybe as many as 35. No one is sure of an exact number.
Knowles never went to trial for the crimes he was accused of because he was shot by a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent while allegedly trying to escape custody just outside Atlanta.


Jacksonville jail escape starts spree

According to media reports, Knowles is believed to have started his killing spree in the summer of 1974 after he picked a lock and escaped from his jail cell in Jacksonville where he was serving a sentence for stabbing a bartender. His first known victim is believed to be retired Jacksonville Beach teacher Alice Curtis, 65, who died the night of his escape from jail after being bound and gagged during a robbery.

Florida Times-Union report said five girls, ages 6 to 12, disappeared within three months in 1974 around the time of Curtis’ death. Prosecutors eventually concluded that two girls — Annette Anderson, 11, and her sister, Mylette, 6 — were abducted from their Oceanway home and killed by Knowles, according to the Times-Union.
Knowles later wrote a letter about some of his victims and claimed that he was responsible for the disappearance and murder of the Anderson sisters, First Coast News reported. He said he left their bodies at the end of Commonwealth Avenue, but police scoured the area and never found them.


By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter

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