Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Durousseau, the Jacksonville Serial Killer

A Murderous Rampage

Twenty-year-old Shawanda Denise McCalister was an independent and hard-working girl, determined to forge a successful, happy life. She simultaneously worked as a certified nursing assistant and attended school in the hopes of one day climbing the ladder within the medical field. However, all of her dreams were cut short by the hands of a ruthless killer. 

Shawanda Denise McCalister, victim
Shawanda Denise McCalister, victim

On January 10, 2003 Shawanda had been found strangled to death with a cord in her Jacksonville apartment on Arco Drive. In many ways, Shawanda's death bore marked similarities to Nikia's murder. Like Nikia, there was evidence of a sexual assault and both victims had been bound in a similar manner. Also like Nikia, she had been pregnant at the time of her death. Investigators suspected that Shawanda and Nikia died at the hands of the same killer.

Investigators also linked another previous murder to that of Shawanda and Nikia. On December 19, 2002 police discovered the remains of eighteen-year-old Nicole L. Williams. According to Times-Union staff writer Veronica Chapin, Williams had been found wrapped in a light blue blanket in a ditch on Soutel Drive in Jacksonville. It was suggested that she was murdered in a local Jacksonville hotel.

Nicole L. Williams, victim
Nicole L. Williams, victim
 

Nicole had been bound and strangled likeShawanda and Nikia. There was also evidence of sexual assault. Moreover, investigators revealed that DNA taken from the unknown assailant matched samples taken from all three victims. There was little doubt that the same killer was responsible for the deaths of the three women.

Jovanna Tyricia Jefferson
Jovanna Tyricia Jefferson
 

On February 5, 2003 a construction crew clearing out a vacant lot on New Kings Road in Jacksonville made a gruesome discovery. Workers found the remains of seventeen-year-old Jovanna Tyrica Jefferson in a ditch. She had been missing since January 20, 2003.

Surita Ann Cohen, victim
Surita Ann Cohen, victim

The police were immediately called to the scene. Shortly after their arrival they discovered the remains of another young woman six feet from where Jovanna's body had been found. The young woman was later identified as a nineteen-year-old mother of two, Surita Ann Cohen, who had been missing since February 4th.

Ron Word of the Associated Press reported that evidence suggested that the girls' hands had been bound behind their backs. There was also evidence that the girls had been sexually abused prior to their deaths.  However, one of the most vital clues of the investigation was revealed when witnesses claimed to have seen both Jovanna and Surita with a cab driver prior to their disappearance. Word further stated in his article that it was the cab driver clue that linked the case to a man named Paul Durousseau.

 

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