Christmas was always an especially special time for 30-year-old Roxann Jeeves of Dallas, Texas. Her five-year-old son, Kristopher, had been born on December 23, and the celebration of the two special days so close together was her favorite time of year. Kristopher’s first four birthdays and Christmases had been excellent, and mom again had a fun-filled day planned for the birthday boy on December 23, 1981.
Kristopher’s fifth birthday became a day of horror when he and his mom were both brutally murdered. To make it even worse, investigators believe Roxann had been forced to watch her son’s murder.
A man was seen fleeing the scene where the lifeless bodies of mother and son were found. In his haste, he left behind a bag of clues, which would eventually lead to his identity.
Roxann Korper moved from Oklahoma to Dallas following her divorce and took back her maiden name, Jeeves. She was engaged to be remarried in June of 1982 to a man named Jimmy Hoskins.
Some sources list Kristopher’s name as Kristopher Jeeves, others as Kristopher Korper, and still others as Kristopher Korper-Jeeves.
Roxann and Kristopher lived in the Sussex Place complex, a relatively nice set of apartments in the northeast part of Dallas. She worked for an insurance company, but she had the Christmas week off and planned to devote the time to her son. The birthday docket included touring the Kraft food plant in nearby Garland, where Louise Hoskins, Roxann’s mother-in-law-to-be, worked. Afterward, they planned to have lunch and then see a movie. They would then hit the road, traveling to visit relatives in Kansas for the usual dual celebration of Kristopher’s birthday and the Christmas holiday.
At around 10:00 a.m., Roxann was seen loading Kristopher’s birthday, and Christmas presents into her car. The presents, however, were never opened, and the Jeeves never made it out of Dallas.
Concerned that her car, a 1978 Ford Thunderbird, might break down during the trip, Roxann had told her friend Daniel Binion that she planned to take her toolbox with her.
At around 10:15 a.m. on the morning of December 23, Roxann’s neighbor, Patricia McAvey, heard a determined Kristopher “dragging” the toolbox down the steps from their second-story apartment. Mommy was smiling as her big boy slowly but surely made progress.
Patricia then went inside for a few minutes. When she returned at approximately 10:30 a.m., she saw no sign of Roxann. However, she did see Kristopher in the company of a black man and a woman who appeared to be either Hispanic or Native American. The man was carrying the toolbox in one hand and holding Kristopher’s hand with his other. The three were seen turning a corner and walking in the direction of where Patricia believed Roxann’s car was parked.
Patricia did not recognize the man and woman and described them as rough looking. Both acted nervously.
Half an hour later, the man was seen again with Roxann and Kristopher in their car at a gas station off Interstate 635, near the LBJ Freeway, which forms a partial loop around the north, east, and southern sectors of the city of Dallas. Roxann was driving, the man was in the passenger seat, and Kristopher was in the back seat. The woman Patricia McAvey had seen earlier was not with them.
Gas station attendant Don Crawford filled their tank. As he washed the windows, he said both the man and Roxann looked nervous. The man never looked at him or said anything to him. Other than telling him to fill the car, Roxann did not speak either. Kristopher appeared unnerved as he smiled at Don while playing with his toys in the back seat.
Though she did not say anything to him, Roxann stared at Don as he washed the car’s front windshield. In hindsight, Don recalls the look like one of fear, as if she wanted, but was afraid to ask him for help.
Forty-five minutes later, at 11:45 a.m., Dallas County Deputy Roy Baird was patrolling an area in southeast Dallas County, ten miles from the city. He came upon a 1978 Ford Thunderbird parked on the wrong side of a dirt road.
The driver’s front door was open, and the hood was still warm. Unwrapped Christmas gifts sat in the back seat while on the front seat were a toboggan hat, a blue sports bag, a pair of woman’s gloves, and a purse.
All indications suggested to Deputy Baird that something was amiss, and he cautiously entered a field on the north side of the road. As he made his way across the field, he came upon, even for a seasoned officer, a horrific scene. Lying in the field next to each other, he found the lifeless bodies of a young woman and a small boy.
The victims were identified as Roxann and Kristopher. Mom lay covered in a blanket and had been shot once in the cheek and once in her temple. Kristopher lay beside her, having been killed by a .38 caliber bullet to his forehead.
The Thunderbird was registered to Roxann. Robbery was ruled out as a motive for the murder as multiple items of jewelry were on her body, and money was found in her purse in her car. Both she and Kristopher were found fully clothed, and neither had been sexually assaulted.
Roxann’s fiancee, Jimmy Hoskins, and her ex-husband were quickly cleared of any involvement.
As additional police officers raced to the area, a black man matching the description of the man seen earlier with Roxanne and Kristopher at their apartment complex was seen by at least eight people either running away from the scene or hitchhiking along the Interstate.
Approximately half an hour later, as investigators were at the crime scene, the man burst into a gas station five miles away, demanding to use the telephone. The cashier, Katie Christian, told him he had to use the payphone outside. Angered, the man stormed outside and used the payphone for a few minutes. After he hung up, he lingered at the gas station for nearly half an hour and, at one point, returned inside for a drink of water. Katie last saw him walking toward Interstate 635 toward the LBJ Freeway.
Another witness saw the man running down the hill from the gas station toward the Interstate. He then saw a 1955 Buick, driven by a heavyset black man, pull alongside him, pick him up, and then it drove away. The sighting led police to believe the suspect may have had an accomplice in the crime, whom he had called from the gas station payphone to pick him up.
A composite of the man believed to have murdered Roxann, and Kristopher Jeeves was made based on the descriptions of the multiple witnesses. The composite of the female seen with the man at Roxann’s apartment complex was made based on Patricia McAvey’s description.
The witness who saw the man in the 1955 Buick picking up the alleged killer did not get a good enough look at him to develop a composite sketch.
Investigators found a cornucopia of other clues in Roxann’s car. The bag’s contents included a pre-World War II holster, a set of burglary tools, duct tape, knives, and, perhaps most significantly, a bottle of formaldehyde. This evidence suggests the murders may have been drug-related.
At the time, it was a popular practice among drug users to lace marijuana cigarettes with formaldehyde. The practice was sometimes referred to as a “Sherman Stick.”
The suggestions of drugs as having involvement in Roxann and Kristopher’s murder led to a prime suspect: her brother Kurt.
Kurt had lived with Roxann and Kristopher for a few months before joining the Army in August of 1981, four months before the murders. Several people told police Roxann was relieved when Kurt left her apartment. Although she said her brother was good to her and her son, Kurt had a shady past, as he was known to be dealing in marijuana and owed many of his “associates” substantial amounts of money.
Interestingly, Kurt’s inner circle of friends consisted exclusively of black men. Shortly after he had moved out of Roxann’s apartment, an angry black man pounded on Roxann’s apartment door in the late evening. The man was angrily looking for Kurt, saying he owed him money.
A neighbor who saw the man believed he bore a resemblance to the composite sketch of the killer.
Kurt insisted he had no involvement in the murders of his sister and nephew and that their deaths were not related to his drug activities. He was shipped by the Army to Germany, where he was convicted of dealing drugs. The Army then returned Kurt to the United States in 1984 to serve time in the Louisville, Kentucky, stockade before being dishonorably discharged.
Kurt’s nefarious past caught up with him shortly after his release as he was murdered in an attempted drug buy in April of 1984. A group of black men was convicted of his murder, but police could not link any of them to Roxann and Kristopher’s murders.
No evidence has been found suggesting Kurt had any involvement in his sister and nephew’s murder, or that his murder was related to theirs.
The toboggan hat and blue sports bag left by the killer in Roxann’s car’s back seat ultimately proved to be his undoing.
In 2003, over 21 years after the murder of Roxanne and Kristopher Jeeves, DNA testing identified George Hicks, a former sanitation worker, as the murderer.
Two hairs found in the toboggan cap were matched to Hicks, and his former wife also identified the items found in the bag as belonging to her former partner. After the matches were made, a witness who saw the man running through the field picked Hicks out of a photo lineup.
Hicks had an extensive criminal record dating back 35 years. In 1968, he was given probation for theft, but two years later, he received a three-year prison sentence for burglary. Paroled after serving one year, Hicks was convicted of sexual assault in the following year of 1972. He then served seven years in prison.
At the time of Roxann and Kristopher’s murders in 1981, Hicks worked as a janitor in Dallas. In 1984, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for another sexual assault. He was paroled after serving eight years, but he was soon convicted of another sexual assault. The courts had finally had enough, sentencing him to 80 years in prison.
Hicks’s DNA was matched to the cap found in Roxann Jeeves’s car, and he was imprisoned in Rosharon, Texas. Concurrent with the 80-year sentence, he served two 15-year sentences for aggravated sexual assault and robbery.
In 2007, George Hicks was convicted of the murders of Roxann Jeeves and received an additional life sentence. Prosecutors put Hicks on trial for Kristopher’s murder in 2014 to ensure that he will never be paroled from prison. He was convicted of Kristopher’s murder and given another life sentence.
The death penalty could not be imposed for crimes committed as far back as 1981.
George Hicks has refused to answer any questions about the murder of Roxann and Kristopher Jeeves. Investigators are divided on whether he was the man seen arguing with Roxann about Kurt owing him money in the months before the murders. They have not been able to establish any connection between Hicks and Kurt Jeeves or any of his associates. A few investigators believe Kurt’s case was connected to Roxann and Kristopher’s, but most believe they are separate incidents.
The identity of the man in the 1955 Buick who picked up Hicks along Interstate 635 remains unknown, as does that of the woman seen with Hicks at Roxann’s apartment complex on the day of the murders. The woman may have been an accomplice, but she may not have any involvement. She is still sought for questioning in the deaths of Roxann and Kristopher Jeeves, but only as a material witness.
The woman is believed to be of either Hispanic or Native American origin. In 1991, she was approximately 5’5″, with long dark hair and a medium build. She was believed to be 25-30-years-old, making her in her mid-to-late fifties today.
• Dallas Morning News
• Galveston Daily
• “Murderers Among Us” by Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesorth
• Texas Tribune
• Unsolved Mysteries
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More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:
Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)
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