Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

E-mail elevates Gulfport stalking case to felony status

GULFPORT — The State Attorney's Office has added a felony charge to Gulfport's most notorious stalking suspect.

Jovan Anton Collier, 41, has been charged with aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

That charge has been added to two first-degree misdemeanors — stalking and violating a protection order — that have been issued since May when Collier's girlfriend broke up with him and kicked him out of the house.

Police have been unable to find Collier, who has a past that sets him apart from other stalking suspects.

During their investigation into his whereabouts, police found out that in 1983, when Collier was 14, he served time in the slayings of his adoptive parents and brother in Wisconsin.

Collier was named Peter Zimmer in 1983 when he 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. He subsequently changed his name.

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

After learning of those killings, police ramped up their search for Collier, fearing he could return to that earlier level of violence. They haven't found him despite continued harassment of the victim.

On Sept. 14, the victim received this e-mail: "I am here in St. Pete and hope to hell I run in to you. You messed me over and I will pay you back."

She was scared and she was angry, and she wanted her stalker caught. She knew there would be a much better chance of that — a wider net would be cast — if the charges were elevated.

Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant state attorney, explained that previous correspondences had only satisfied the criteria for a misdemeanor charge. Felony stalking includes a credible threat to harm a victim or her family.

"The new correspondence sounds like he's crossing the threshold," Bartlett said.

Assistant State Attorney Dora Komninos filed the felony charge last week after meeting with the victim and her attorney.

The victim is relieved.

"I feel like someone is finally listening to me," she said.

"It's not the end, but it's the beginning of the end."

Whether the suspect's past crimes — for which he served time in a juvenile detention facility — can be brought up if and when this case goes to court remains to be seen.

"It depends," Komninos said. "We would want to have it out there to explain why she's feeling the way she's feeling.

"It's something that would definitely come out in sentencing," she said.



Any person who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows, harasses or cyberstalks another person commits the offense of stalking, a first-degree misdemeanor.

Aggravated stalking

Any person who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows, harasses or cyberstalks another person, and makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or bodily injury of the person, or the person's child, sibling, spouse, parent, or dependent, commits the offense of aggravated stalking, a third-degree felony.

Source: The Florida Legislature

E-mail elevates Gulfport stalking case to felony status 10/13/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 2:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Water Hogs: During drought, hundreds of Tampa Bay homes guzzled a gallon of water a minute


    When Amalie Oil president Harry Barkett plunked down $6.75-million for his Bayshore Boulevard mansion, he picked up 12.5 bathrooms, a pool, a hot tub, an elevator and a deck bigger than some one-bedroom apartments.

    During one of the worst droughts in the Tampa Bay region's history, hundreds of houses used more than a gallon of water a minute. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times

  2. PolitiFact Florida checks out Rick Baker's talking point about the growth of St. Petersburg's A-rated schools


    Rick Baker has used mailers, forums and social media to relay one big message in his campaign for St. Petersburg mayor: Schools in St. Petersburg saw drastic improvements when he was mayor from 2001 to 2010.

    Rick Baker, candidate for St. Petersburg mayor
  3. Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelly talks family, songwriting and more before Tampa show

    Music & Concerts

    A while back at the Grammys, Charles Kelley found himself in the same room as Paul McCartney. The Lady Antebellum singer, a seven-time Grammy winner in his own right, couldn't work up the courage to say hello.

    Lady Antebellum perform at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday. Credit: Eric Ray Davidson
  4. Clearwater suspect due in court after 9 die in sweltering San Antonio truck


    SAN ANTONIO — Nine people are dead and the death toll could rise after emergency crews pulled dozens of people from a sweltering tractor-trailer found parked outside a Walmart in the midsummer Texas heat, victims of what officials said was an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone wrong.

    San Antonio police officers investigate the scene where eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case, Sunday, July 23, 2017, in San Antonio. [Associated Press]
  5. Email warning ignored before St. Pete started spewing sewage


    ST. PETERSBURG — A draft report lays blame for the city's sewage crisis squarely on the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman and a cascading series of errors that started with the now infamous shuttering of the Albert Whitted Water Reclamation Facility in 2015.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system. St. Petersburg dumped up to 200 million gallons of sewage over 13 months from 2015-16. A new state report blames much of the crisis on mistakes made by the administration of Mayor Rick Kriseman, but also critcizes past administrations. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]