A man and woman charged in the brutal slayings of three people in a South Carolina home are now accused of killing and partially dismembering a Florida man, and authorities say there may be more victims.
Christopher Russell Taylor, 31, and Kristina Sluss, 36, are each charged with three counts of murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and armed robbery, according to WYFF-TV. They are charged in connection with killings of Nathan Poffenberger, 23, and Francis and Fred Richards, both 59, who were found dead Jan. 20 in a Landrum home in Spartanburg County.
Landrum is located just off Interstate 26 near the North Carolina state line.
Taylor and Sluss were arrested Feb. 19 in Polk County, Florida, in the beating death of 47-year-old Douglas John Bowling, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a Saturday news conference, video of which was posted to the agency’s Facebook page.
The two suspects met Bowling, who was homeless, shortly after arriving in Florida from South Carolina, Judd said.
“They were driving the victim around to open up accounts and rip off the banks,” Judd said, adding that Douglas later became “kind of an aggravation” to Taylor.
At a home in Polk County, Taylor beat Bowling with a frying pan and a baseball bat for two or three hours, Judd said. Taylor and Sluss put the body in a bathtub and later dumped it in another part of Polk County.
Judd said Taylor cut off one of the homeless man’s hands before they dumped the body.
While Florida authorities questioned Taylor and Sluss about Douglas’ death, Sluss provided details about the triple homicide in Spartanburg County, Judd said.
“She admitted she watched while Christopher viciously and brutally murdered three innocent people,” Judd said, adding that Taylor used a hatchet in the killings.
While there is no evidence to suggest there are additional victims, Judd said Taylor “demonstrated attributes of a serial killer.”
“I don’t believe for a minute when you look at this guy that this may be all the people he’s murdered,” Judd said, holding up Taylor’s booking photo. “He not only murders people; he savagely murders people. ... This guy fits the mold and has proclivities of a serial killer.”
Taylor and Sluss were staying with Taylor’s mother, who lived near the home where the triple homicide happened, Judd said. They also are believed to have spent time in Georgia and Tennessee.
The sheriff asked residents and law enforcement agencies across the Southeast to reach out if they have any missing person cases or unsolved homicides that might fit the pattern of the four killings so far.
Taylor and Sluss remain jailed in Florida. Judd said prosecutors from Florida and South Carolina will confer and decide who has the stronger case for trial.