Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Clairemont Killer

The Suspect

Cleophus Prince Jr.
Cleophus Prince Jr.

Around this time, Cleophus Prince told friends he was dating an older white woman, a massage therapist. He had a wedding ring he said was hers, and he added that he was having sex with the woman's daughter as well. He told the same story to the foreman at the job where he was working, Nacomm Communications, where he installed underground cable. Prince even offered the foreman several pieces of jewelry. He made the same offer to a coworker and reiterated that he was dating a mother/daughter combination and that the mother, who worked out, had a great body.

At this time, he was committing burglaries in the area, taking a sixteen-year-old boy with him. His MO was to put socks on his hands so he would not leave fingerprints and he tripped the door locks with credit cards. Then he would select a knife from the kitchen in case he needed to use it.

He often followed women from the gym where he had a membership and thus learned where they lived. Then he'd watch their homes for the chance to enter and take something. His burglary partner did not know about his other activities, but his girlfriend was apparently the recipient of several pieces of stolen jewelry.

Similar Chevrolet Cavalier
Similar Chevrolet Cavalier

A number of people witnessed Prince driving away from apartments that had been burglarized, driving an older model bluish-gray vehicle with a noisy muffler. The police soon traced it to someone who came to the Family Fitness Center on Miramar Road. They asked employees to inform them the next time they spotted a car of this description. They hit pay dirt on February 4, 1991, when an employee called to say a man had just driven a 1982 Chevy Cavalier through the parking lot. The driver, Prince, was sitting there in his car when officers arrived fifteen minutes later. He gave a reason for his presence there that failed to check out, so they placed him under arrest. Bringing this killer to ground, however, was not going to be easy.

Officers searched his car and found black leather gloves and wool gloves, along with a knife with an eight-inch blade, a steak knife, and two folding knives of different sizes. He had once been listed as a member of the fitness center but had canceled his membership. He had no business being in the parking lot, although people at the club said they had seen him there multiple times. That made him look suspicious.

Police took fingerprints and a blood sample, questioned Prince, and released him. It would take several weeks to get results, and they had nothing with which to detain him. Prince quickly left the state, supposedly to go visit his mother in Birmingham, Alabama. He would soon get himself into trouble there, fortunately for the task force.


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