Sixth Judicial Circuit,
Pinellas County Case # 9905593
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable
Attorney, Trial: Daniel
Hernandez Ė Public Defenderís Office
Attorney, Direct Appeal: Paul C.
Helm Ė Assistant Public Defender
Date of Offense: 09/09/80 and
Date of Sentence: 04/14/03
Circumstances of Offense:
In February of 1998, while
incarcerated at Hardy Correctional Institution, Winkles requested to
speak with officers from Pinellas County. Winkles was serving a life
sentence for the kidnapping of Donna Maltby. Winkles confessed to the
Elizabeth Graham and Margo Delimon murders, which took place nearly 18
years earlier. He gave the officers detailed information about both
Sometime between September 9,
1980, and July 3, 1981, Winkles abducted and murdered Graham. She
worked for Pampered Poodle. Winkles had seen a young woman who worked
for the business that excited him. Winkles called the business and
requested service to the address of an abandoned house in hopes of
abducting the worker. The girl whom he had picked out did not arrive;
instead, Graham arrived at the address.
Winkles decided Graham was just
as good as the original girl he had wanted and carried out his plan.
When Graham opened the vanís side door, Winkles attacked her. He pushed
her down, put a pistol to her head, handcuffed her, gagged her,
blindfolded her and put her in the back of his station wagon. He
punctured the right front tire of the Pampered Poodle van and stole 20
dollars out of Grahamís purse.
Winkles claims to have held
Graham prisoner for four days and nights at his grandmotherís house. At
one point, however, he said he might have had her at a motor home on his
property in the country instead. During the captivity, Graham was kept
in shackles and forced to engage in several sexual acts with Winkles.
Winkles feared Graham knew their location from looking at magazines with
the mailing address on them and decided he had to kill her. He gave her
four Flexeril muscle relaxants, which put her to sleep. Winkles then
put an umbrella over Grahamís head to shield blood splatters and shot
her three times in the top of her head.
He then removed her clothes and
the sheets off the bed and burned them. He buried Grahamís body in
Pinellas County. Sixteen days later, he returned to dig up the body and
removed the head. He took the skull and ran water through it to make
sure no spent bullets remained inside, removed the teeth and lower
mandible and then threw the skull into the Steinhatchee River in
Lafayette county. Grahamís skull was discovered in July of 1981, but
was not identified by DNA testing until the late 1990s.
Winkles abducted Delimon
sometime between October 3 and October 21, 1981. Delimon was a realty
salesperson. Winkles first met Delimon at an open house viewing. He
asked he out for a drink and she refused. The next day he invited her
to breakfast and she agreed. At breakfast, Winkles asked Delimon to
show him secluded properties in the country.
Delimon took Winkles out
to the properties and, at this point, he took advantage of the situation
and kidnapped her. Winkles held her captive for four days in an
abandoned house neighboring his grandmotherís house. During this time,
he sexually assaulted her several times. Winkles claims that Delimon
knew their location and could identify him, so he had to kill her.
Delimon was killed by an overdose of 17 sleeping pills. Winkles buried
Delimonís body in Pinellas Country. Sixteen days later he decided to
move the body to Citrus County. A week after that, he removed the head,
took the teeth out and threw it in a wooded area in Hernando County.
Delimonís headless body was found on October 21, 1981, and identified
by fingerprints on August of 1983. Delimonís toothless skull was found
on May 23, 1982.
Winkles had been a suspect in
both the Graham and Delimon cases; however, there was insufficient
evidence to charge him. The cases would have remained unsolved cases if
not for Winklesí confession nearly 18 years later.
investigation, evidence was discovered revealing that Winkles always
planned his abductions. The passenger door of his vehicle was fixed so
that it could not be opened, and the passenger window was made so that
it could not be lowered to prevent the escape of his victims.
also always carried an ďabduction kitĒ which contained cut rope,
handcuffs, gags, sleeping pills, liquor and Vicks Vaporub to put under
his nose to prevent smelling the decaying bodies. He also had a
collection of female undergarments.
Winkles waived his right to a
jury and plead guilty to both counts of first-degree murder on 4/03/02.
He was sentenced to death on 04/14/03.
Winkles told detectives that he abducted, raped and killed 62 women. He
claims to have killed a total of 26 people between 1967 and 1982.
Winkles has not provided information on any of these claimed offenses.
Winkles was convicted of assault with intent to commit robbery and
attempted robbery in Hamilton County, Florida on September 3, 1963 under
the name of Jimmy Delano Hawk.
03/25/99 Indicted as follows:
Count I: First-Degree
Murder (Elizabeth Graham)
Count II: First-Degree
Murder (Margo Delimon)
04/03/02 Winkles plead guilty to all counts of the indictment.
04/14/03 Sentenced as follows:
Count I: First-Degree
Murder Ė Death
Count II: First-Degree
Murder Ė Death
05/21/03, Winkles filed a Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court.
He contended that his Sixth Amendment right was violated since the death
penalty was not supported by aggravating circumstances found by a jury.
Winkles also contended that his right to notice about the nature and
cause of the accusations was violated since he was not informed of the
aggravating circumstances in the indictment. His final arguments were
that he did not enter his guilty pleas knowingly and intelligently and
the death sentences were disproportionate.
On 01/13/05, the Florida
Supreme Court affirmed Winklesí convictions and sentence.
Winkles filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States
Supreme Court on 04/11/05. The petition was denied on 10/03/05.
of 2 Pinellas women, dies in prison
By Mark Douglas -
Tampa Bay Online
September 10, 2010
CLEARWATER - James Winkles, convicted for the
murders of two women in Pinellas County 30 years ago, died
Thursday on Florida's death row near Starke while awaiting
Winkles, 70, had been in prison since 1982. He died
at 6:25 a.m. of natural causes and the medical examiner will issue a
more exact determination, said Gretl Plessinger, spokeswoman for the
Department of Corrections.
Winkles gained notoriety in 1998 when he told prison
authorities he had information about the unsolved murders of two women
in Pinellas County, dog groomer Elizabeth Graham, 19, and real estate
agent Margo Delimon, 39.
At the time, Winkles was serving a sentence for
kidnapping and robbing a Sanford saleswoman.
He told authorities he'd been having nightmares about
the rape and murder of both women and eventually confessed he was the
killer. A Pinellas jury convicted him of the murders in 2003 and Winkles
has been awaiting execution on Death Row ever since.
Around the time he was admitting to those killings,
Winkles gained more notoriety by claiming he had slain 26 people between
1967 and 1982. The statements came in interviews with former WFLA-TV
news reporter Marcia Crawley.
Winkles told Crawley in chilling detail about
killings and locations but investigators could never substantiate them.
Winkles said at the time he was breaking 18 years of
silence because he feared he wouldn't outlive his prison sentence. He
suffered from high blood pressure and heart disease.
No one had claimed Winkles' body Friday, said
Plessinger, with the corrections department. If no one steps forward, he
will be buried in the inmate cemetery at nearby Union Correctional
James Delano Winkles