Man accused of killing beloved Jacksonville teacher in 2019 indicted in murder of second woman

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The man charged in the murder of a beloved Atlantic Coast High teacher nearly two years ago has been connected to another killing.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, before Zubulon Perkins was arrested for strangling Vivan James to death inside her Cedar Hills home on Dec. 28, 2019, he killed another woman just three days before, on Christmas Day.

JSO homicide detectives say evidence that surfaced following James’ death led them to believe Perkins may have been behind a homicide on 103rd Street. This week the case was presented to a grand jury by the state attorney’s office and Perkins was formally indicted on a second first degree murder charge.

According to court records, Perkins has been arrested nine times in Duval County. Many of the arrests were violent in nature. In 2014, Perkins was arrested and charged with domestic battery, domestic battery by strangling and a domestic assault.

Perkins was arrested again in June 2015, and charged with battery causing harm with a weapon, among others. In Sep. of 2017, he was charged with battery causing bodily harm.

In March and Sep. 2018 Perkins was charged with battery and domestic battery, the latter of which he served only 21 days. Perkins’ most recent arrest prior to James’ killing was in May 2019 when he was charged with violating probation and resisting an officer with violence.

James was dearly loved by her students and colleagues. “She was more than just your average teacher,” said Kaleb Lawrence, a senior at Atlantic Coast High School.

“Having her as a teacher is like an experience like no other,” Lawrence told Action News Jax in Jan. 2020.

Teachers who spoke with Action News Jax reporter Alicia Tarancon were too upset to go on camera, but they said James was an amazing person who was brutally honest, helpful, and gave the world’s best hugs.

The school created a GoFundMe shortly after James’ death to create a permanent memorial in her honor in the school’s courtyard.

Action News Jax has reached out to JSO to learn more about the woman killed on Christmas Day. We will update you on-air and online as we learn more.

Samantha Mathers

Samantha Mathers, Action News Jax

Samantha Mathers is a digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax.