Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul John Knowles: The Casanova Killer

Encounter with Fate

Sandy Fawkes
Sandy Fawkes

Soon after the murder, the offender put on one of Carr's suits and wandered into a Holiday Inn bar in Atlanta, Georgia.   At the same time, British journalist Sandy Fawkes came into the bar looking for a drink.  She had just come in from a failed assignment in Washington, D.C., feeling tired and discouraged, and she noticed him.  Thinking he was handsome, she described him thus: "His gaunt good looks made him stand out from the crowd."  She observed his nice suit and tie and thought he might be European.  However, when he came over to ask her to dance, she declined and said she had to work.  She then left to go to the local newspaper offices, but upon her return, the stranger was still there.  "Decidedly, he really was very handsome," she wrote, "tall, well over six foot, broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped and as slender as a wraith."  She noted his carved cheekbones, beaked nose, and "well-formed mouth."  They struck up a conversation, went to dinner, and despite her resolve, they ended up in bed.

Fawkes is both amusing and unkind in her description of their sexual experiences, indicating that Knowles could not perform, at least not without self-stimulation, although he seemed to be able to laugh about it.  Fawkes sensed that he wanted to be liked, and while she thought him strange (attributing this to her ignorance about Americans), he seemed to be good company, so she stayed with him and allowed him to drive her to several places where she needed to go.  He even persuaded her to allow him to drive her all the way to Miami, Florida, where he said he had an appointment.  She noticed that he was sensitive, considerate, protective, and able to insert himself into her life almost unobtrusively.  Despite her better instincts, she found herself going along with it.  In fact, this strange young man proved to be a "spectacular" dancer, so they had a good time.  And she was impressed with both his expensive wardrobe and his new white Chevrolet Impala.  She believed he was rich.  Oddly, though, while he paid with credit cards, he seemed to have no money for small things like newspapers.

Despite a slight uneasiness, during their time together, she joked about what kind of killer he must be.  She was aware of such people as Albert DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler; Charles Manson, who had inspired a gang of disciples to kill only five years earlier; Dean Corll, who had more recently been murdered by one of his accomplices after the deaths of more than twenty-seven men; and Juan Corona, who had been convicted of killing twenty-five men in 1971 and burying them on two ranches near Yuba City, California. These had been chilling, headline-grabbing crimes, occurring often enough for people to be concerned.  While Fawkes teased her young escort, who called himself Lester Daryl Golden, she also observed odd things about him.

For example, on two occasions when she arose while he still slept, she saw his lips curled back in the expression of "an animal at bay."   That scared her.  In St. Augustine, he was intent on finding the torture chamber of an old fort.  He also seemed secretive and preoccupied, but his discussions about such things as his business and his belief in God were passionate.  He told her that he wanted to "leave a mark on life...to be remembered for something."  She would have good reason to recall that remark. 

At one point he asked her if she had ever written a book and asked if she might write one about him.  The idea seemed absurd to her, but at times she humored him to try to learn why he thought he was a worthy subject.  He told her that he did not have long to live, because he would soon be killed for something he had done.  "Within a year," he said, "I will be dead."  She had no idea whether to believe him, but he told her that he had given some tapes to his attorney in Miami for safekeeping, and after his death, the content of those tapes could be revealed.  It would give her all the material she needed.  "It will make world headlines," he assured her.  It was enough of a hook to keep her interested.

Golden also told Fawkes that he believed firmly in fate and that there were marks on his body that affirmed that he would die young.  He apparently believed astrology and tarot cards.  Fawkes tried repeatedly to get him to say what he'd done, but he refused.  At one point, she caught him tearing a story from the local newspaper about the Carr double homicide and its possible connection with three other area murders.  He dismissed her questions by saying he had friends who lived where the incidents happened.  It did not stop her from making jokes about him bumping her off - jokes she would later regret.

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