Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul John Knowles: The Casanova Killer

The Spree Continues

Although he traveled through numerous states, from Oklahoma to Minnesota, he indicated that he had killed no one there.  Overall, he racked up some 20,000 miles on his lethal journey, using stolen credit cards in twenty-five different states.  After the Dawson murder, reports of the other murders conflict.  Fawkes says that on October 16, he killed Karen Wyne and her daughter, Dawn, in Marlborough, Connecticut, binding and raping them before strangling them (as per the tapes).  He took a tape recorder from them.  But Newton indicates that he killed again in Virginia, in mid-October.  He was in Woodford on October 19 (Fawkes says October 18) when he knocked on the door of Doris Hovey, 53.  When she opened it, he forced his way inside.  He found her husband's weapons and used a rifle to shoot her.  He removed his fingerprints and lay the gun beside her.  For investigators who came in later, there appeared to be no reason for this murder.  Nothing had been taken, and there was no evidence of attempted rape.  This offender apparently just enjoyed killing for its own sake.

Knowles was still driving the car he had stolen from William Bates in Ohio and had made some recordings that involved a confession of his deeds thus far.  Newton states that he handed tapes over to Sheldon Yavitz shortly after the Hovey murder (and Fawkes confirms that this occurred on October 25), although it wasn't until November 7, after killing Carswell Carr and his daughter, that he purchased blank tapes and a tape recorder.  Thus, he must have been recording an ongoing diary of some sort, using different machines.  He seems to have stolen the first one and purchased the second one, although it's not clear why he needed two.

In any event, he went back to Florida from Virginia, getting as far as Key West before he was stopped for a traffic violation.  Unbelievably, the traffic cop did not bother to check if the car was stolen, but the stop probably saved the lives of the young couple that Knowles had picked up.  Instead of doing anything to them, he dropped them off and went to see Sheldon Yavitz.  Newton says that the attorney suggested he surrender but he decided against that, believing that he would rather be shot down on the run than go through the prison system.  He had murdered people in several death-penalty states, so either way, he knew his days were numbered.

Newton and Fawkes indicate that he may have killed another pair of hitchhikers, Edward Hillard and Debbie Griffin.  Hillard was found not far from Macon, Georgia, on November 2. He had been shot five times, but Newton says that his companion remained missing, while Fawkes says she was found in the woods in August 1975.  However, her purse and clothing were found near Hillard, and Knowles was known to have been in the area on November 2.  Newton also indicates that on November 6, Carswell Carr invited Knowles home for the night, which led to the double homicide in Carr's home.


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