Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul John Knowles: The Casanova Killer

Another Perspective

Following the double homicide of Carswell Carr and his daughter in Millidgeville, Georgia on November 7, 1974, James D. Josey, currently Chief Detective at the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, became part of the investigation team.  The lead investigator at the time for the Carr case was Charles Osborne, Assistant Chief of Police, but when he had to leave town to look into other leads, Josey handled the Georgia-based investigation. 

Chief Detective James D. Josey
Chief Detective James D. Josey

"I was a uniformed officer at the time," he said, "and on the second day of the investigation, Chief Eugene Ellis and Assistant Chief Charles Osborne brought me in. Asst. Chief Osborne and I, along with Special Agent Gerald Coffee of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, began interviewing anyone and everyone, neighbors, friends etc. re-working the crime scene. At the time we had what we in law enforcement called 'a who done it.' We had nothing to go on until Knowles abandoned his car in Florida, and the authorities there contacted us.   Assistant Chief Osborne and Agent Coffee went to West Palm Beach, Florida and worked with those officers for several days."

While he never made the acquaintance of Sandy Fawkes, he did have an encounter with Paul John Knowles.   "When Knowles was arrested and brought to the Milledgeville Police Department for processing (fingerprinting, photos, etc.), I asked him his occupation and he replied 'Thief.'   So I asked him, when he wasn't stealing what did he do, and he replied, 'Musician.' While I was booking him, he made the statement to me, 'I am going to build my mother a house before they kill me.'  

What Josey clearly remembers some thirty years later is the impression Knowles made on him that day.  "Knowles had the coldest eyes.  He could see right through you.   He had no qualms about killing."

He apparently had no qualms about dying, either, or about playing games with people's lives.  When he grabbed State Trooper Charles E. Campbell and businessman James E. Meyer as hostages and then was captured alone, he refused to give up their whereabouts.  Josey recalled that as well.  "I carried Colonel Beech, Commander of the Florida Highway Patrol, to Knowles' jail cell in the Bibb County Court House for the Colonel to ask Knowles where his trooper was, so he could give him a Christian burial and Knowles smiled sarcastically and said, 'You know I can't tell you that.'   That was hard to witness.  If you could have seen the anguish on the Colonel's face, it was heartbreaking."  They were soon to learn that Knowles had executed these men and left them in the woods.

Josey also assisted the producers for New Dominion Pictures as they made a television movie about the case called Dangerous Pursuit and spent several days filming it in the Millidgeville area.  The producers had contacted Josey for his impressions and he offered whatever assistance he could.

Knowles definitely left an impression on people who came into contact with him.  Sandy Fawkes' book has been reissued in England and anyone else who knew the cold-blooded killer still thinks about him this many years later.

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