A drifter couple behind bars for murder in Florida have been charged with killing three people in a home in South Carolina, authorities said Saturday.
Christopher Taylor, 31, and Kristina Sluss, 36, face three counts of murder in the Jan. 19 deaths of Fred Richards, 59, Francis Richards, 59, and Nathan Poffenberger, 23, in Landrum. Investigators said the victims had been hacked to death with a hatchet.
Arrest warrants state Taylor and Sluss took money and drugs from one of the victims, Fox Carolina reported.
Taylor and Sluss have been in custody in Florida since their arrest in the Feb. 19 beating death of Douglas Bowling, a homeless man, in Polk County. Taylor’s brother was also arrested in the Bowling murder, Fox 13 Tampa reported.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Saturday at a news conference that he believes Taylor may have killed others.
“I don’t believe for a moment that when you look at this guy that there may be all of the people he’s murdered,” he said. “He not only murdered people, he savagely murdered people.”
He said he wants other jurisdictions in the Southeast to check their records to see if they had any unsolved murders in which the victim may have been dismembered or partially dismembered.
Judd said Bowling was found with one of his hands chopped off. He said Bowling was killed because Taylor found him "annoying."
The sheriff said Taylor told Sluss after the South Carolina murders that he didn’t cut “that boy’s” head off, but almost did.
Judd said Taylor made the statement after speaking to his mother who lived in Landrum near the Richards house. He said she had told her son that she heard that one of the victim’s had been decapitated.
“He has demonstrated attributes of a serial killer,” Judd said, referring to Taylor. “We just want to know if there are other victims out there.”
The sheriff said deputies were able to tie the two cases together after interviewing Sluss.
Poffenberger’s father found his son and the other two victims when he didn't return home, Fox Carolina reported.
“These people were savagely killed,” Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said of Poffenberger, Richards and his wife.