Crime

Paul John Knowles: The Horrific Crime Spree Of The 28-year-old "Casanova Killer"

Paul John Knowles: The Horrific Crime Spree Of The 28-year-old 'casanova Killer'
ADVERTISEMENT

There is no clear evidence of how many people he killed, but the Casanova Killer, Paul John Knowles, sure fantasized about receiving fame like movie stars and playback singers. But roughly 46 years ago, he became famous — but not for what one would imagine he would. He came to be known for an extraordinarily gruesome legacy.

Among the five states of Georgia, Florida, Nevada, Texas, and Connecticut in 1974, Paul John Knowles was investigated for having shot, strangled, and stabbed about fourteen women and four men. He was a charming, intelligent, 28-year-old man from Florida who stole cars and credit cards.

But he left a horrific legacy that you'd be astonished to hear about if you haven't already. Read on to learn about his terrible crimes and the reason that made him so infamous.

Who Was Paul John Knowles?

Paul John Knowles: The Horrific Crime Spree Of The 28-year-old 'casanova Killer'

Born on April 25, 1946, in Orlando, Florida, Paul John Knowles was a family member with seven people living in three rooms of their house. It was learned from Knowles in an interview that his family was not among the caring kind. He believed that even being born into such a family was the worst thing that happened to him.

ADVERTISEMENT

One of his brothers, Clifton, said that physical abuse ran in the family and if the family members were alive today, the children would be doing better given away. As for Paul John Knowles, he did spend a significant period of his youth in foster care.

Eventually, Knowles was sent to the Dozier School for Boys, also known as Florida State School. The institution was no less than a plot from a horror story. Many boys were sent to this school of severe offenses. 81 out of the 200 boys of the school died on the grounds. The school-goers often witnessed physical abuse as well.

Paul John Knowles: The Horrific Crime Spree Of The 28-year-old 'casanova Killer'

Knowles was arrested around 1965 for the first time. He was aged 18 or 19 around that time. His offense was that he had kidnapped a police officer for holding him liable for a traffic violation. After this incident, he roamed around a bit and was often in and out of jail. The reason was mainly theft.

While in jail in 1972, Paul John Knowles met Angela Covic. They became prison penpals. Angela was in a rocky marriage at that time, and she and Knowles started a romantic relationship. They even planned on getting married, but Angela called off the relationship after a few years when they met in person.

Knowles then visited Angela in California, but Angela said she had an "aura of fear" and bid him farewell, sending him back to Florida and deciding to give her marriage a chance. After this incident, Knowles was once again arrested in his home state for stabbing a bartender.

But he escaped on July 26, 1974. This escape marked the beginning of the crime spree that he is famous for today.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Casanova Murders

Paul John Knowles

The first known murder by Paul John Knowles was that of a 65-year-old woman called Alice Curtis. She was a retired schoolteacher hailing from Jacksonville. She was home the night that Knowles had escaped prison.

Knowles broke into her house for burglary. In that attempt, he bound and gagged Alice. Later, it was found that Alice died by choking on her dentures. But it was unclear if Knowles was there at the moment. Either way, he has got a significant role to play in her death.

Knowles then fled in Curtis' car, and after driving for a few hours, he decided to abandon the vehicle. He then found two young girls, Lillian and Mylette Anderson. They were family acquaintances, and both the parties recognized each other. So, Knowles kidnapped the girls, strangled them, and dumped their bodies in a swamp.

Knowles' Crimes Puzzled The Police

ADVERTISEMENT
Paul John Knowles: The Horrific Crime Spree Of The 28-year-old 'casanova Killer'

Paul John Knowles traveled to Connecticut, leaving a series of dead bodies to lead to him. The police termed the series as "The Casanova Murders," given Knowles good looks and charm. However, they could not link the murders in any way. They even could not pull out any clues for a reason behind the murders.

Knowles had killed over 20 people, out of which fourteen were women, six men, three children, and three older people. Some were shot, strangled, robbed, and others brutally murdered while camping or hitchhiking through the streets. Some of the dead bodies were reported to be sexually assaulted, and some were raped while alive.

Additionally, the victims were from six states that threw the police off the trail, making it almost impossible to draw a perimeter. The investigators were confused if they were looking for a murderer, gunman, rapist, opportunist, or all of them.

Sandy Fawkes's Insight

Paul John Knowles: The Horrific Crime Spree Of The 28-year-old 'casanova Killer'

The only clue that was significant to lead to Paul John Knowles was the reporter named Sandy Fawkes. Two weeks before Knowles was finally arrested, he picked up Fawkes in a bar. Fawkes traveled around with Knowles for three days, booze-filled and unaware about the hunter that he was.

ADVERTISEMENT

Fawkes later expressed in an interview that Paul John Knowles was a "dreamboat." She was the only person to have described him to be like Redford in appearance. She realized only years later how close she had approached being one of his victims.

Not once during those three days did Knowles show any signs of wanting to hurt or kill her. Even when they parted ways, Fawkes believed that she'd remember him fondly. People thought that Knowles let go of Fawkes so that she'd become the reason for his fame, at least partly.

It was a theory pulled up by Barbara Tucker, a writer who escaped Kowles' ire. Maybe Paul John Knowles believed that writers could keep him mortal in their stories saving him his glory instead of the criminal ending he winded up by.

Summing Up Crimes Of Paul John Knowles

Paul John Knowles: The Horrific Crime Spree Of The 28-year-old 'casanova Killer'

It is still unclear about Paul John Knowles' identification sexually. He raped and murdered women, teenage girls, and gay men. Knowles used to be pleased and gained even for pleasure after killing the victims without getting caught.

Finally, Paul John Knowles was shot dead by GBI Agent Ron Angel on December 18, 1974, during an escape attempt, fulfilling his forever dream of dying as a fugitive. People were relieved by his death and sighed big heaps of relief with gratitude for their own and their family members' safety.