A 58-year-old north Florida man who brutally murdered his mother and two stepbrothers has authorities believing he committed a â€˜ritualistic killing inspired by witchcraftâ€™ for an upcoming blue moon.
The event, which occurs when there are two full moons in a single month, led Donald Wayne Hartung to become known as the “Blue Moon Killer” for the unspeakable acts heâ€™s accused of committing.
They based their beliefs of the ritualistic nature on the manner in which the victims were killed and the positions of their bodies, according to Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan.
“It’s witchcraft, I’ll say that right now,” he said at a press conference.
77-year-old Voncile Smith, the suspectâ€™s mother, and his two adult stepbrothers, 49-year-old John William Smith and 47-year-old Richard Thomas Smith, were each found with multiple wounds from blows to their heads with a claw hammer. Each of their throats had been slit as well. Richard, along with those injuries, had been shot in the head.
The blue moon, which occurs tomorrow, convinced Sheriff Morgan that it was witchcraft-inspired. This has greatly angered many witches.
“You know, there are different factions of that. While it doesn’t bother me to release that particular thing, we most assuredly do not want to defame or demean any particular practice, if you will,” the sheriff said, trying to assure them that it wasnâ€™t a dig on witches as a whole.
Donald Hartung was arrested Tuesday, almost three months after the victimsâ€™ bodies had been discovered in their Pensacola home on July 31st.
Heâ€™s been charged with three counts of first-degree premeditated murder.
State Attorney Bill Eddins, also speaking at the press conference, said that theyâ€™ll be seeking the death penalty.