WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WATE) — The suspect in the killing of a man in a Greeneville, Tennessee, on Oct. 2 is now the suspect of two more murders following his arrest Tuesday in Winter Haven, Florida.
Stanley Eric Mossburg, 35, had evaded law enforcement for 12 days before he was finally apprehended after a “spree” of killings, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is an absolutely evil person,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a press conference Tuesday. “He needs the death penalty.”
Christopher Scott Short was found dead outside the Celebrity Coin Laundry at 2055 East Andrew Johnson Highway on Oct. 2.
Twelve days later, law enforcement say Mossburg killed two more and bound a third victim trying to get valuables from their home in Winter Haven.
According to law enforcement, Mossburg fled Greeneville to his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina, in Short’s stolen vehicle. Mossburg was seen in Spartanburg Oct. 4 in the stolen car. The car was later found in a scrapyard the next day.
Between Oct. 4 and Oct. 9 Mossburg made his way to Seffner, Florida, outside Tampa after his sister bought him a bus ticket from Atlanta to Orlando. On Oct. 9 in Seffner, Mossburg stole a black Ford F250 pickup truck. Two days later, he pawned property belonging to Short in Auburndale.
According to Sheriff Judd at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 13, Mossburg killed a man and bound a woman waiting for another man who lived at the home in Winter Haven to come home.
Mossburg entered a home with three residents, killing a man and tied up a woman. The third resident, another man, returned later and was bound with computer cords by Mossburg in a separate room from the woman. He demanded valuables and access to a safe.
Mossburg later admitted to killing the woman, according to the surviving victim.
Mossburg would attempt to clean up the crime scene according to the PCSO with bleach and a mop before untying the man.
At noon on Oct. 14, Mossburg told the third victim he was leaving, but he was coming back and threatened to kill him if he called the police. Mossburg would leave in the female victim’s car.
The male victim stayed at the residence for an hour before running to a neighbor’s home to call 911.
“For whatever reason, we expected him to take (the female’s) stolen vehicle and flee to South Carolina, but he didn’t,” Judd said. “He came back and then said he wanted to engage (with police.)”
Law enforcement set up a perimeter. A captain making passes in the neighborhood found the female’s stolen vehicle less than a block-and-a-half from the home. The stolen pickup truck was near the stolen female’s car and had been spray painted white.
Officers tracked Mossburg to a residence and were shot at in a standoff. They eventually used a battering ram on an armored vehicle to punch holes in the home and put tear gas inside. A punch through a garage door revealed Mossburg pinned under a broken pool table.
SWAT officers were finally able to take Mossburg into custody around 5 a.m. Tuesday.
“As we talked to our live victim he said, ‘oh by the way, this guy said he wants to be a serial killer’,” Sheriff Judd said.
Mossburg told PCSO officers that the two victims in Florida were “7 and 8 but his goal was to kill 11.” The other victims have not been confirmed.
He faces charges of first-degree felony murder, especially aggravated robbery and especially aggravated kidnapping in Greeneville. He faces two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder against deputies in Polk County, Florida.
Mossburg has no known connections to Florida and the investigation is ongoing.