Arrest Made in Pensacola “Witchcraft” Triple Murder

Donald Wayne Hartung
Escambia County Florida authorities say Hartung Killed his family.

Hours after Wayne Hartung’s arrest, evidence technicians still comb through his house searching for more clues and answers in the brutal murders of his mother, Bonnie Smith and his half brothers, John, and R.T.

“This is the son of the woman and the half-brother of the two men,” says state’s attorney Bill Eddins. “We’re convinced and satisfied that the correct charge is premeditated murder.”

Three months ago the bodies were discovered in separate rooms in their Deerfield Drive home. Investigators initially believed they were victims of a ritualistic killing linked to witchcraft.

“The fact that Mr. Hartung was engaged in that and the reason I say that, there was some statements that he had made and there was some evidence found at his home that clearly indicated that tie in,” says sheriff David Morgan.

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News Five has learned Hartung had a book on witchcraft in his house and in one of those initial interviews with authorities he admitted to practicing the Wiccan religion. Other possible motives include a connection with R.T.’s employer, the Department of Homeland Security or simply for money.

“Today was the day everything finally came together,” says Eddins, “and we obtained a warrant for his arrest.”

Neighbors we spoke to didn’t want to appear on camera but say they are glad Hartung is no longer their neighbor. They also say they knew something was up earlier today because there were a lot of cars in the neighborhood that didn’t belong. Hartung was taken into custody just before 11 o’clock.

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Late this afternoon the last of the investigators packed up and drove away from Hartung’s house. Now the next phase of the case will begin.

“I am glad we were able to work through this extremely complicated, detailed crime scene and crime and reached this point.” says Eddins.

That next phase will be a bond hearing where prosecutors will ask that he continue to be held without bond. They also plan to seek the death penalty in this case.

Family members tell News Five they are relieved an arrest has been made and they look forward to the prosecution of the case.

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