Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gulfport stalking suspect arrested in Georgia

One day after Gulfport police asked the U.S. Marshals Service for help finding Jovan Collier, the stalking suspect with a violent past was arrested in a motel across from a Greyhound bus station in downtown Savannah, Ga.

He is being held in the Chatham County, Ga., jail awaiting extradition to Florida.

Gulfport police had been looking for Collier, 41, since June, when he was charged with misdemeanor stalking and violating a protection order.

Police had taken a keen interest in Collier because in 1983, when he was 14 and before he changed his name from Peter Zimmer, he served four years in juvenile detention after pleading no contest to killing his adoptive parents, Hans and Sally Zimmer, and their 10-year-old son, Perry, in Mineral Point, Wis.

The stalking victim had been unaware of her ex-boyfriend's past until Gulfport police turned up details when they were searching for him.

Last month, the State Attorney's Office added a felony charge after e-mails to the woman became increasingly threatening.

That allowed police to cast a much wider net to find their suspect — and to ask the U.S. Marshals' Tampa office for its help.

When investigators determined that Collier could be in the Thunderbird Motel in Savannah on Wednesday morning, officials alerted marshals in that office, who found and arrested Collier.

How did they track down such an elusive man?

"Unfortunately, we aren't allowed to talk about that," said Gulfport police Lt. Robert Vincent.

"If we revealed the surveillance techniques, they wouldn't work anymore," he said.

"Hopefully now, with Collier behind bars, the victim can resume her life without worrying where he is or what he'll do. We've put a lot of work into this case; now we have to trust the system to ensure that justice is served," Vincent said.

Collier will remain in custody until he is brought back to Florida and appears before a judge, Vincent said.

The ex-girlfriend, who has been looking over her shoulder and carrying a gun for protection, is relieved.

The marshals were quick to alert her of the arrest.

"They arrested him at 9:40 and called me at 10:40," she said.

"I'm overwhelmed. I cried when I heard the news."

Gulfport stalking suspect arrested in Georgia 10/24/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 24, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  2. Kushner to testify before two intelligence committees


    WASHINGTON— President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to make a second appearance on Capitol Hill — he will speak with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, one day after he is scheduled to speak with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators behind closed doors.

    White House senior adviser Jared Kushner is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. [Associated Press]
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Exhumation of Dalí's remains finds his mustache still intact


    FIGUERES, Spain — Forensic experts in Spain have removed hair, nails and two long bones from Salvador Dalí's embalmed remains to aid a court-ordered paternity test that may enable a woman who says she is the surrealist artist's daughter to claim part of Dalí's vast estate.

    Salvador Dal? died in 1989 leaving vast estate.
  5. Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show


    WASHINGTON — Russia's ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, current and former U.S. …

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation after meetings with an ambassador were revealed.