Paul John Knowles
Paul John Knowles
Paul John Knowles (April 17, 1946–November 18, 1974) a.k.a. “Lester Daryl Gates“ aka “Daryl Golden” was an American spree killer (also known as The Casanova Killer) tied to the deaths of 18 people in 1974, though he claimed to have taken 35 lives.
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Born in Orlando, Florida, his father gave him up to live in foster homes and reformatories 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 1974, he was granted parole and sought to marry Mrs. Angela Covic, with whom he had corresponded from prison. Allegedly because of something a psychic told her, she ended the relationship.
After this rejection, Knowles went on a murderous spree across northern Florida. He was eventually caught in Georgia and sent back to Florida.
While riding in the back of a car going to find the location of his murder weapon he used to kill the highway patrolmen and the businessman he used a hidden paperclip to free his handcuffs. There was no screen in the car. Knowles grabbed the sheriff’s handgun and fired a round through his holster. Agent Ronnie Angel then fired three shots into Knowles’ chest in self-defense. To this day agent Angel will not speak to anyone about the incident.
- 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 television.
- 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 unharmed.
- 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.
- Trooper Charles Eugene Campbell was abducted while on patrol and shot by Knowles in Pulaski County, Georgia.
- James Meyer was a businessman who Knowles took hostage along with Campbell. Knowles handcuffed them to a tree and shot them with the trooper’s gun.
- J.H.H. Gaute and Robin Odell, The New Murderer’s Who’s Who, 1996, Harrap Books, London
- Sandy Fawkes, Killing Time, 1977, London
- Georgina Lloyd, One was not enough, 1976, London
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