May 12, 2021

Carolyn Cox Rose

Carolyn Cox Rose


Carolyn and her family


POS Julius William Hill Jr.



08 Apr 1978, 25 - Pensacola News Journal at 

09 Apr 1978, 10 - Pensacola News Journal at

11 Apr 1978, 17 - Pensacola News Journal at

17 Apr 1978, 15 - Pensacola News Journal at

08 Feb 1979, 23 - Pensacola News Journal at

29 Oct 1979, 2 - Pensacola News Journal at

New DNA technology solve 42-year-old Escambia County cold case | WEAR (

ECSO closes 42-year-old cold case murder of Realtor Carolyn Cox Rose (

Carolyn Cox Rose murder in 1978: Family speaks out as cold case closes ( 

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Carolyn Cox Rose, born in 1931, in Milledgeville, Georgia. Milledgeville is a small town or city. To put it in perspective, it currently has a population of 18000. It's small enough that I couldn't even find population history from back in the 40s 50s and 60s. Little is published about her earlier life, but I found that her dad’s name was Dennis Cox, and she had three sisters: Virginia, Jane and Denise.

In her early 20s Carolyn got married and had a son, named Carl Stark III, but the marriage was short-lived and they divorced in the early 50s.  Carolyn was a go-getter, and now she's a single mother she needs to not only look out for herself, but also for her son. She was ambitious and a great salesperson, so she decided to get her real estate license, and before you know it, Carolyn and Carl move to Pensacola, Florida, in 1958. Carl is 4yo. 

Where is Pensacola?? It is the way way west part of Florida.  It’s in the part of the state that's attached to the rest of the country, not within the drooping penis part, lol. Sorry can't think of any other better way to describe it. Pensacola is just 2 hours from the Alabama border, and it's right on  the water so it attracts tons of tourists with its beautiful beaches. On average 2 million people will vacation in Pensacola, spending $750,000 every year. Now this is six hours from Carolyn’s hometown in GA. The city has about 43k people back in the late 50s … And you can imagine there’s plenty of beautiful Florida real estate right there on the water. And that’s a lot of houses that might need selling as the population grows! Over time, Pensacola will grow to about 50k in the early 80s, and it’s pretty much stayed that way since. 

So when I was looking up what Pensacola is known for aside from the beaches, I came across a question: is Pensacola a dangerous city? So of course I had to know well, “Pensacola is in the 1st percentile for safety, meaning 99% of cities are safer and 1% of cities are more dangerous.” So I said what's the average and it turns out the average is like less than 20 crimes per 1k people,  and Pensacola is about 380 per 1k. Keep in mind though that this is a tourist attraction. So the thousand people is based on the population but some of these crimes are probably people coming in during the day committing their crimes against tourists or the local tourism industry.  In any case that's a pretty scary number. Not sure what the crime rate was back then but that's what we have today.

Pensacola is the host of the national hockey team Pensacola Flyers  and also the College basketball team, West Florida Argonauts.

Now, back in the  50s, when Carolyn and Carl show up, she finds a position in a real estate office, and her and Carl start putting down roots. And over the next 20 years, Carolyn becomes an important and well known member of her community. She is a member of the local Baptist Church, the Pensacola Board of Realtors, the Scenic Hills Country Club - whoo fancy! - and an active member of the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce. Now I honestly don't know where her last name Rose comes from because from what I could tell, she never got remarried. And we know Cox is her maiden name. But considering all the organizations that she was in, plus raising Carl and being successful in real estate, she might not have wanted to take the chance that she was going to be pulled away from that. I can only speculate, but maybe she got remarried for a short time then got divorced again, and never dropped her last name, “Rose?” Her only child was Carl. But I can see why she might have been weary about getting remarried... or at least having more any other kids, for sure. This was the sixties and seventies! She'd already had one kid, and knew enough about herself and the life she knew she was capable of creating for herself, and had already gotten out of one marriage. We know, it was not as common back then for women to be leading such independent and self-sufficient lives, but she was doing it and had been for a quiet a while. She was smart, successful, wonderful mother, she was a looker… but jeez, she was also busy!  She was not only like a boss, but 1978 she was a boss… by now, she was the vice president of Better Homes Realty. 

Also, Carl was now grown up, of course, and he had gotten married, and had two kids. They were blessed with a son, Bo, and eventually a baby daughter, named Erin. When Carolyn is killed in 1978 Carl and his family have moved back to Georgia. He is 24, and his kids are just toddlers. But they do still get to visit with  grandma Carolyn  and the family does share some really beautiful photographs of their  visits. 

Now, earlier in the year, in the middle of January, this is when Ted Bundy ended up in Tallahassee. Tallahassee is about 3 hours away from Carolyn's house in Pensacola. On January 15, Bundy breaks into the Chi Omega sorority house on the Florida State University campus. He raids multiple bedrooms, killing and mutilating two co-eds, as well as attacking  others, who do survive. Then, a few weeks later in early February, Bundy abducted, raped and murdered 12yo Kimberly Ann Leach. Within a week of killing little Kimberly Leach, Monday's driving across the Panhandle for the Alabama border, end gets pulled over by Pensacola Police Officer David Lee, who notices he's driving a stolen vehicle. Of course, he did not know it at the time that this was Ted Bundy, but Bundy tried to get away. And Officer Lee Was able to catch up to him and take him down and arrest him. And within a few days of research and a check of fingerprints they do figure out that they have Ted Bundy in custody. And the rest is history for Bundy. 

So imagine a real estate agent, like Carolyn Cox, who's never had a problem showing and selling houses in the past. But now they find out a deranged serial killer was driving through their town. And it’s Ted Bundy, who's killed dozens of women,  and his MO is luring them closer to him away from the public with his good looks and sweet attitude. Any woman who has a job like this, who meets with clients alone, in whatever industry she’s in, is now panicking, right?. They pick this guy up right in my town. But he came from out of town, he's been traipsing around the country doing who knows what for the last how many months? We know he's been accused of murdering over the last few years and now he was right here? How safe am I really when I go to show my listing?  Or if I'm an interior designer invited to go to someone's house?  Or what if I'm a Tupperware sales woman who does in-home sales parties?  What if I just need to fill up on gas? Or hang out at the bar for a few drinks with my girlfriends? Is there anything I can do to keep myself safe? What can I do to make myself safer? How many bad guys like this are out there, and how do I know if I can trust someone I mean as a potential client? You know, in these industries, you need to come off as personable, knowledgeable, capable of closing a deal, eager to make the sale for whatever it is you're selling. You can't act like a terrified lunatic holding a gun while you're there meeting a client, you know,  threatening to kill him if he tries to pull anything. But in the late 70s, when serial killers became part of the public consciousness, I'm sure any lady throughout the country wondered just these kinds of things when they went to work everyday.

Now, in Pensacola, in fact, local inventors start figuring out ways to help keep the ladies in town safe.  One local guy, Dylan Vickery, starts transforming garage door openers into alert sirens that real estate agents in the Pensacola area can set off if they find themselves in danger when showing a house. 

For Carolyn's part, she writes a lot of notes about her clients and the houses she sells.  She is the vice president of the real estate agency after all, and she needs to keep meticulous notes in order to succeed, since presentation is key when it comes to selling houses. So she writes notecards for herself about  prospective buyers, such as their price range, their deal breakers, their must-haves, etc.  But also about the feeling she gets from them. Are they intimidating, quiet; who wears the pants in the family; which spouse doesn’t care as long as the other spouse is happy; is the buyer  passive, or aggressive etc.  So when the time comes to show a house, she knows how to prepare herself for the meeting, and even if she should bring someone along. I believe most of the time, as a general rule, the agents do show houses in pairs, but it doesn't always happen. What I'm getting at here is Carolyn didn't get this far without knowing how to conduct herself and how to work with people to help them find what they want. And aside from all the listings her real estate office is handling, Carolyn has a specific house but she's trying to sell for the last 3 months.  

So the first of April, there are multiple murders on the police department’s plate, let's get a brief overview of each of them here:

Saturday 4/1/78 - 25yo Handy Shade Jr. shoots his wife 23yo Shirley and “stuffed her body in a duffel bag and shoved it under his bed.” Then he slept on their bed - directly above her - for four nights before she was found.

On Sunday, 23yo Marine Sergeant Robert Lee Horton is found killed by having been shot at point blank range. He only had $2 in his pocket and his body seemed to be just laying on the ground in some residential neighborhood.

Wednesday 4/5/78, friends go by a trailer apartment on 10 Mile Rd to hang out with two roommates, Mark Johnston and Ricky Mayton. They discover that Johnston, the son of a former senator, was shot, and Mayton was beaten so badly that he died later at the hospital. Neighbors said they were partiers, and police admitted they found drugs in the trailer.

Later that day… early Friday night - security guard Morley Griffin Ray, brother to local police chief Tommy Ray, is shot by armed robbers at a Winn Dixie. So the cops are busy!

Early on Friday, Carolyn gets a call from a possible buyer, who wants to look at a $65k house in fancy Pine Forest Hills. Appointment will be 9am sat morning. So just before, she stops at the office until she has a business appointment and should be back in a little bit.

4/7/1978 - Mildred Swenson is the next door neighbor to the house, watching As the World Turns, it’s about 1:15pm, when two people come knocking on her door. They are real estate agents that work with Carolyn, and ask her if she will call the police for a wellness check next door. They did call the police, but Mildred was too curious to wait, so she walked over to the house. She goes back to the screened in porch, and notices it's open, but she knows it's always open, so no big whoops. Then she noticed the sliding glass door is open too - and that's a problem. Pokes her head in - looks around, sees Carolyn. She is naked, on her back, eyes looking up at the ceiling, and she can tell her hands were tied behind her back. “It nearly frightened me to death. I wish I hadn't gone into that house, I really do.”

Carolyn was left in the master bedroom, strangled with her own bra. Police found no evidence of resistance. They were able to collect DNA at the scene, and of course save all other physical evidence. 

When reporters are at the scene while police are investigating, they ask an investigator about how busy his week has been. “Tell me about it. I’ve been in on most of them. It's been a sleepless week for most of us.”

And of course, as soon as Carolyn's family hears about her death, they get in the car and drive down to Florida. It’s going to be Caroline's parents, Carolyn's sister, and Carolyn's niece Cherie.  And it's so devastating to get a call like that. Especially for her parents I mean if she was 47,  there must have been pushing - or older than - 70. To live that long of a life, and still  outlive one of your children, it's unimaginable. 

Now remember, Carolyn’s is just one of five murder scenes. There are only 9 guys in the department. The police are all on duty all week, no one is sleeping, some are driving out of state to track down leads on the Winn Dixie robbery, and they’ve got one detective who is using his magnifying glass to compare fingerprints! Yeesh! Thank God for technology and digital files!!

For Carolyn's case, they are combing through her appointment book to find buyers that might know something … or of course, if it was a buyer, or the buyer that killed her. “This week has been just unbelievable. And it's aggravating because we don't really have anything yet.” 

Within a week, there is a $5,000 reward offered by The Pensacola Board of Realtors.  This would be over $20k in today's economy. This is the second real estate agent murdered in 3 years in the Pensacola area. So the board also starts holding workshops for self defense and ways to screen possible clients before you meet them. 

So what are the police doing regarding Carolyn’s case? They're combing her house and the real estate office for clues. And they’re interviewing co-workers, and friends and family, and they're told about those notecards with little cheat sheets I told you about earlier. And of course, she had her date book where she kept her actual appointments and other to do lists.  Using this, by April 14, which was the next Friday, they tracked down a “promising suspect”  all the way up in New York, on Long Island. This guy’s name is Robert Joseph O'Connor. 

So police had been tipped that March 16th, he had been caught peering through the windows at a house by some construction guys.  So he walks up to them and talks to the Man In Charge at the site. He tells him he works for IBM Corp in New York and tries to play off that he's rich. He’s essentially schmoozing the contractor and the workers, and he starts walking the house a bit and then finally writes a $500 down payment check right then and there. He tells them, I'll be back tomorrow to sign the official contract. But then he never comes back. And he ends up back in NY. Well, it turns out he does work for IBM, but he's a groundskeeper and he works at some location in Jersey.

So how is he related to Carolyn’s murder case? Robert O'Connor sometimes goes by the alias of George MacDonald. And George MacDonald is the name that was floating around Carolyn's real estate office. Apparently George MacDonald had been trying to get in touch with Carolyn about a house but said he only wanted to talk to her personally, and never even left  a message on the answering machine for her. They also realize that there had been sales agreements with her on the morning she was killed. So the police theorize that this guy George MacDonald told her he wanted to put a down payment on it, but it had to be quick because he needed to fly back up to NY. Now if this is all true, police figure, she brought the forms with her that morning so they could sign a contract before he got the plane.

But clearly this is not enough for police to be able to bring them back to Florida. But they can charge him with fraud for writing the bad check for the other house. He does not waive extradition, meaning he doesn’t automatically admit that he is who they think he is. In the end though police give up on this lead because they find information out to rule them out. So they don't even bother with the check fraud.

Mom is especially heartbroken, stressed, not eating, but not mourning in front of others. She pretty much wasted away… and passed away from heart failure about 10mo after Carolyn had been killed. Son Carl is much the same way. Even though Erin grows up without her grandma, she knows she's missing something special. But Dad wouldn't talk abt his mom. So Erin gets stories abt grandma and her murder from other people. She later tells us, “I feel like I missed out on the influence that she would have had or given me. I missed out on someone who didn’t just want to have a family and children and to live the wife life."

Suspect investigation: ESCO  investigator Kevin Coxwell is working Carolyn’s cold case in 2019. Escambia County Sheriff Dept decides to try forensic genealogy to find the donor of the DNA left at the crime scene. They contact the state police, who then reaches out to Parabon…. And on June 9, 2020, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office announced the rape the murder of Carolyn Cox Rose was perpetrated by Julius William Hill Jr.

Who is Julius William Hill Jr.? Who is this piece of shit? Born 12/11/1950 and I know that only because he had his birthday announced in the paper in Kannapolis, North Carolina every year throughout the 60s. At the time, he was in his teens, and his dad kept getting in trouble with the law in Kannapolis. In July of ‘63, there was a rear-end accident on the ramp leading out to the highway. Which I normally wouldn't mention of course, except this isn't going to be the last. In May of 1965, dad was fined $20 for cursing in public. In February of 1967, Dad was convicted of “operating a car under the influence of an intoxicant.” But this is the 60s, so I’m surprised there's actually charges brought against him at all. Dad gets a 12 month suspended sentence but he can get out of it if he surrenders his driver's license and doesn't get caught driving, and pays $100 fine. How’d he do? A few months later, he's driving his car into the bushes on someone's property… At least he doesn't seem to raping and murdering women, so we’ll give him that.

So, from these little news blurbs, we can assume Hill Jr. grew up there, in North Carolina, and his roots must have started there family there because he was buried there and his obituary was printed there as well. In 1969, He was convicted of raping his neighbor and sentenced to 25 years. Guess how many he served?  He served seven of them before being let out. So if we say that he went to jail in 1969, and served 7, he got out in 1976…. that means within the first year of two of release he is luring Caroline to one of her properties. Another case of a rapist just waiting to get out of jail so he can rape again. They don’t learn, they don’t change their ways, they don’t “get better.” And seeing he was never caught for Carolyn’s murder, I think it’s safe to say she wasn’t his last victim. Maybe he never killed again, but I’m sure he has other rape victims.

Sooo, yeah, Hill is dead. And it’s too bad we don't get to try him and sentence him for this. He had ended up getting caught for two separate Bank robberies. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 years. He died on April 9th 2007 in the state prison in Victorville California. He was then shipped back to North Carolina and buried there. They allow that?

About hearing that the case had been solved, Carolyn’s niece Cherie Mulhollan says, “It was like 42 years of holding my breath washed over me.”

How do we feel about finding out the killer has already died so we get no chance at justice? Of course, it's not really like we have a choice in the matter, right? At this point we just hope that anyone who has died before they were discovered as the murderer … that they ended up serving some kind of prison time if they were a repeat offender, like this POS here. What we see in Carolyn's case, I think,  in her family's reaction, is that just getting a name can be just as important, even if you can't look the killer in the face, and see them brought to justice. I think it has to do with a person's legacy. That whole idea that who you are or were is defined by the society that knew you. Carolyn was a devoted and loving mother and grandmother, a fierce businesswoman, and an active member in her community. Remember what her granddaughter Erin said, Caroline wasn't there to help guide her through life, to teach the options she had as a girl in the 80s, or a young woman in the 90s.  By her own lifestyle, Carolyn showed her family that you don’t need to be married and have children and stay at home and bake pies all the time. You can create a professional life of your own and be known to others by your first name, and not by your husband’s last name.  

Carolyn’s murderer, on the other hand, had been unknown for over 40yrs, and up until last year, his legacy did not include the horrendous act of raping and strangling her. I actually found condolences to his family when he died! Now that we can put his name to her killing, he’s not just a guy that held up a bank a few times. Now the world knows who Julius William Hill Jr. really was. He wasn’t a bank robber who died in prison because it was bad for his health. He didn’t deserve all my condolences and fond memories. He was a rapist and murder with no remorse. With Carolyn being his second victim, it’s not a far reach to believe that there are other victims out there.  So she does get some kind of vindication in death. 

Carl died just weeks before police and Parabon zeroed in on Hill. After all this time, he wouldn’t get the resolution that so many of these families have to wait so long for.

Handy Shade Jr., who killed his wife and kept her in a duffel bag under the bed… I could not find his sentencing, but I'm sure he spent some time. 

Robert Horton, the soldier found the Sunday before Carolyn was killed, has not received justice. The Escambia police department lists him on their Cold Case page to this day. So if you know anything… please give them a call.

Mark Johnston and Ricky Mayton, the friend found shot in the trailer… two men were charged and brought to trial by the next year. One was acquitted by the judge before his defense even began, and the other was found innocent by the jury after less than a day of deliberations.

Morley Griffin Ray, the security guard and the armed robbery? Police hunt down five men, early 20s to early 30s. The whole case takes about two years to wrap up. They were all criminal thieves, and three end up turning on one of them and testifying against him. They accepted pleas so they could get life sentences, and the shooter was found guilty and sentenced to the electric chair, but I believe he won on appeal and it was commuted to life. The fifth guy had no one testifying against him and didn’t testify against anyone else... he was convicted too, but who's believed that he was Mastermind behind it all because he was familiar with Pensacola. He ended up getting two consecutive life sentences.

Closing Tribute: 

Niece Cherie is now 70yo. One day she is driving to the drug store and her cell phone is ringing. So she pulls into the parking lot, puts the car in park and calls her son back. And he tells her they identified Carolyn’s killer. She tells us, “...and I am so glad I was alone. Because I became totally unglued. It washed over me. It's a long time to hold your breath, but it’s a good ending."