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Man in jail in teacher’s murder now charged in death of woman missing since 2019

Booking photo of Zebulon Perkins (Provided by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man who has been in jail since December 2019 in connection with the murder of an Atlantic Coast High School teacher has been charged in a second murder involving a missing woman who police now believe was killed around the same time as the teacher.

Zebulon Perkins had previously been indicted for the murder of Vivian James, an Atlantic Coast High School teacher who was found strangled to death in her Westside home. Police said at the time of his arrest that they found Perkins driving James’ car.

James, 49, was found dead the morning of Dec. 28 in her home on Glen Alan Court near 103rd Street. Investigators said that she had been dead for 48 hours before she was discovered by a friend who came to check on her. Perkins was also charged with tampering with evidence and dealing in stolen property in that case.

JSO said during the investigation, homicide detectives developed evidence that led them to believe Perkins might have committed another homicide before James was killed.

They began looking into the disappearance of a woman last seen in 2019 and determined she was killed on Dec. 25, 2019, on 103rd Street near I-295, about a mile from James’ home.

Sources tell News4Jax the missing woman’s name was Leah Kline. Kline, 38, had been missing since Dec. 3, 2019, according to the CharleyProject.org.

Police said evidence of Kline’s death was found a few weeks later on Christmas Day.

Perkins was indicted by the Grand Jury on Nov. 18 on an additional charge of first-degree murder in that 2019 killing and is also facing charges of burglary, dealing in stolen property, tampering with evidence and fraudulent use of a credit card.


About the Author:

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.