Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gulfport police say stalking suspect has murderous past

GULFPORT — For the past two weeks, city police have been looking for a man accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend.

During the investigation, police have learned the man has a chilling past: More than 25 years ago, he murdered his adoptive parents and brother. He was 14 at the time.

Police have ramped up their search for Jovan Anton Collier out of fear that he could resort to similar violence. His past makes him more than the average ex who can't get over a breakup.

"A lot of these stalking cases are just people making idle threats," Gulfport police Lt. Robert Vincent said. "But this guy has demonstrated his capability of carrying out violence."

The stalking case against Collier is like many others police see. His ex-girlfriend called police 10 times in two months to report vandalism to her property and harassing phone calls from Collier after she ended the relationship and asked him to move out.

He was arrested June 7 and charged with stalking, but was released on $1,000 bail the next day. The harassment continued. The woman made more complaints to police, who are now looking to arrest Collier again. But they have no idea where he is.

During the investigation, police uncovered Collier's unsettling past. Collier killed his adoptive parents and brother in Wisconsin in 1983, when he was 14. He's now 40.

An Associated Press story out of Mineral Point, Wis., that appeared in the St. Petersburg Times on July 7, 1989, confirms the story. Police also confirmed Collier's past by contacting the police department in Wisconsin that handled the original case and matching the name and birth date.

In 1983, Collier was named Peter Zimmer.

Zimmer pleaded no contest to killing Hans Zimmer, 48, his wife, Sally, 44, and son, Perry, 10, in the family's rural Mineral Point home, about 50 miles southwest of Madison.

Hans Zimmer was shot to death and his wife and son were stabbed as many as 20 times.

The parents had no will, so the probate court recognized Peter Zimmer as the sole heir of the family's $177,000 estate. Upon his release from a juvenile facility in 1987, the teen petitioned for and was granted the money, the Associated Press reported.

The case later was cited when laws were enacted to prevent juvenile killers from inheriting their victims' estates.

The agreement to get the money barred him from contacting Zimmer relatives or traveling to Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona or California.

At some point, Zimmer changed his name to Jovan Anton Collier. He eventually wound up in Gulfport.

Though Collier served his time for the killings — four years — and they have no bearing on the stalking case, Vincent said police still would like to know where he is so they can keep an eye on him.

So the search for Collier — a bald, 5-foot-11, 160-pound white man — continues. Vincent said Collier has relatives in Georgia but also could be in Sarasota, which is where he said he was living when he was arrested June 7.

"We need to do everything we can to get this guy," Vincent said.

Call Gulfport police at (727) 893-1030 with any information.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Jovan Anton Collier can call Gulfport police at 893-1030.

Gulfport police say stalking suspect has murderous past 06/30/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 5:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Largo commissioners raise ceiling on next year's property tax rate

    Local Government

    LARGO — The proposed budget included a recommendation for the property tax rate to remain the same, but city commissioners on Tuesday unanimously voted to increase the maximum rate in a move to give city officials more flexibility.

    City Manager Henry Schubert says the city needs to take a look at its operation.
  2. Allegiant Air reports $400 million in revenue for second quarter

    Airlines
    Allegiant Air CEO Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. | [Courtesy of Tony Jannus Aviation Society]
  3. Dade City's Wild Things touts cub encounters as conservation, but experts say they lead to too many tigers languishing in cages

    Wildlife

    DADE CITY — A lifelong animal lover, Lisa Graham was intrigued when she saw photos on social media of friends cuddling and petting baby tigers at zoos.

    A tiger named Andy is seen at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa. Big Cat Rescue is a nonprofit sanctuary committed to humane treatment of rescued animals, often coming from exploitive for-profit operations. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times

  4. Once close to death in Ukraine, sick girl finds hope in Tampa Bay

    Human Interest

    Everything was packed for Walt Disney World. Clothes for three nights. The pressurized air vest and pump that travel with her. The dress she would wear to meet Cinderella.

    Marina Khimko, 13, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment Dec. 7 at the Shriners Hospital for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]
  5. What you need to know for Thursday, July 27

    News

    href="http://www.tampabay.com/specials/2015/graphics/macros/css/base.css"> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Marina Khimko, now 14, pauses for a moment during a walking exercise to test her prosthetic legs at a fitting appointment at the Shriners Hospitals for Children's Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services in Tampa.  [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]