“[I am] the only successful member of my family”
Paul John Knowles was born in Orlando, Florida on 17 April 1946 and had his first brush with the law when he was 19 when he kidnapped a policeman who had stopped him for a traffic offence. He became a regular in prison before finally being released in May 1974. In the following six months Knowles was linked to the deaths of 18 people although he said he was responsible for 35. His first victim was 65-year-old Alice Curtis who died while he was burgling her home on 26 July. Knowles put a gag in her mouth and she choked to death. The next two to die were Lillian and Mylette Anderson, just 11 and seven years old. Knowles strangled them and threw them in a swamp. Knowles’s victims were young and old, male and female and some who had befriended him. On 3 September he killed William Bates after drinking with him in Lima, Ohio. Knowles stole Bates’s car, money and credit cards.
Twenty days later he met Ann Dawson and they travelled for six days together until Knowles murdered her. Her body has never been found. On 16 October he killed Karen Wine and her 16-year-old daughter, strangling them both with a nylon stocking after raping them. On 6 November he met Carswell Carr in a gay bar at Macon, Georgia and was invited to spend the night at the home Carr shared with his 15-year-old daughter Mandy. At the house an argument ensued and Knowles stabbed Carr who had a coronary. Knowles strangled Mandy and tried to have sex with her corpse.
Knowles then met English journalist Sandy Fawkes in a Holiday Inn bar in Atlanta, Georgia. They ended up in bed. They spent six days together although there were things about Lester Daryl Golden, as he called himself, that worried Fawkes. They went their separate ways after a few days.
On 16 November State Trooper Charles Eugene Campbell, 35, pulled Knowles over in Perry, Florida but was kidnapped and forced into the backseat of his own patrol car. Knowles used the siren in the police car to stop businessman James E. Meyer, who was also forced into the car. Knowles tied both men to a tree before shooting them in the head.
Florida; Georgia, USA
Friday 26 July—Saturday 16 November 1974
On 17 November Knowles drove through a police roadblock in Stockbridge, Georgia, but lost control of the car and hit a tree. He ran into the Henry County woods. Police captured Knowles who said he was “the only successful member of my family”. On 18 December Knowles was transferred to a high-security prison in the back of a police car. While the car was driving on the 1-20 close to Lee Road, Knowles used a paperclip to free himself from the handcuffs and made a lunge for Sheriff Earl Lee’s gun. In the struggle, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Ron Angel shot Knowles three times.