South Carolina

South Carolina man who ‘wanted to be a serial killer’ arrested in Florida, police say

A man wanted on three murder charges barricaded himself in a house and shot at police officers in Winter Haven, Florida, before he was arrested by a SWAT team, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say Stanley Eric Mossburg, 35, killed one person in Tennessee and two more in Florida. He told a surviving victim “he wants to be a serial killer,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

“He told our live victim that the two that he had murdered in the house were number 7 and 8,” the sheriff said. “We have no way to verify that, only that Stanley Mossburg said the two he murdered in the Winter Haven area were number 7 and 8.”

“But his goal was to kill 11,” according to the sheriff.

Mossburg, from Spartanburg, South Carolina, “is without a doubt is a spree killer,” the sheriff said in a press conference Tuesday. He detailed the timeline of Mossburg’s alleged crimes.

Oct. 1: Greenville, Tennessee

Surveillance video shows a man walk into a laundromat at about 11 p.m., pull a gun on the lone person doing his laundry and force him into a bathroom, Judd said. Four minutes later the man, identified as Mossburg, leads the person out of the bathroom with his hands and arms bound to his body, the sheriff said.

About three hours later, the victim’s wife texts him when she became worried that he wasn’t home yet, the sheriff said. She gets what Judd described as a “very vile, ugly, nasty text” in reply “and she immediately dials 911.” The police go to the laundromat but do not find anything, he said.

About 7 a.m. Oct. 2, people at the laundromat open the back door and “they find this man, this husband, in a pool of blood, dead,” the sheriff said. Mossburg took the victim’s car, he said.

Oct. 4: Spartanburg, South Carolina

Police in Spartanburg, South Carolina, find video of Mossburg back in his hometown, the sheriff said. The next day police find the stolen car from the Tennessee killing at a scrap yard in South Carolina, Judd said.

Oct. 9: Polk County, Florida

At some point Mossburg takes a Greyhound bus from Atlanta to Orlando, Florida, Judd said., and Mossburg steals a truck in Seffner, Florida, on Oct. 9.

Oct. 11: Florida sheriff alerted

The sheriff said his department learns Oct. 11 that a murder suspect is in the area. That day, Mossburg “pawned property at a pawn shop in Auburndale, Florida.”

Oct. 13: Two more killings

At about 4 p.m., the sheriff said, a man sees Mossburg in his front yard on a surveillance camera. The man confronts Mossburg and makes him leave, Judd said.

That same man comes home at about 10:30 p.m. and hears his roommate say, “Do what he says, and he won’t hurt you,” the sheriff said. The man sees his female roommate tied up in the house and Mossburg tells him his male roommate was already dead, according to Judd. He ties the man up in an office in the house and demands money before killing the woman, the sheriff said.

Mossburg “slashed and murdered both (roomates),” the sheriff said.

Oct. 14: One victim left alive

Mossburg left the man alive after killing his two roommates, Judd said. According to the sheriff, Mossburg stole one of the cars from the house and left around dawn threatening to kill the man if he called police, he said. The man waited until 6 p.m. then called 911 from a neighbor’s house.

As deputies descended on the scene, one officer saw the stolen car not far from the house, Judd said. “The guy drove back within a block and a half of the murder scene, and there’s 50 deputies in the area,” he said.

Deputies soon had Mossburg cornered in a house, the sheriff said. He shot at deputies who tried to go in after him, Judd said. A SWAT team found Mossburg hiding under a pool table in a garage and arrested him, according to the sheriff.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.