Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and delays in criminal proceedings nationwide, a criminal trial date in October was reaffirmed during a December status hearing in a Florida court for Stanley Eric Mossburg, charged in connection with two homicides in Polk County after allegedly murdering a man in Greeneville.
Mossburg is charged with first-degree murder and other felony offenses in connection with the October 2019 killings of two Florida residents.
Mossburg, 37, is also charged with the murder of Christopher Scott Short in Greeneville, which occurred days before the Florida homicides.
Mossburg remains held without bond in the Polk County Jail in Florida. A Polk County Felony Court trial date of Oct. 4, 2021, was set in 2020 for Mossburg.
COVID-19 still impacts court operations in Florida, as noted in December in the latest administrative order by the Florida Supreme Court.
Criminal cases in Polk County have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“No jurors are coming at this time,” a court official said last year.
Another status hearing in the Mossburg case is scheduled in March.
State of Florida prosecutors have filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Mossburg, who is charged with the killings of two Winter Haven residents in their Polk County home.
Mossburg was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, two counts of armed kidnapping, robbery with a firearm and other felonies.
Other charges include three counts of possession of stolen property, three counts of felony theft, two counts of use or possession of personal identification of a decreased person, criminal use of personal identification and illegal use of a credit card more than two times.
Mossburg, through his court-appointed lawyer, entered not guilty pleas to charges. Another status hearing for Mossburg was set for September in Polk County Felony Court.
The body of Short, 33, of Greeneville, was found on the morning of Oct. 2, 2019, outside the Celebrity Coin Laundry in a plaza on East Andrew Johnson Highway.
Short was killed by a man armed with a knife who confronted him inside the laundromat. Authorities allege the attacker is Mossburg. The laundromat has since closed.
Mossburg, a native of the Spartanburg, South Carolina, area, is charged in Tennessee with first-degree murder and other felonies in connection with Short’s death.
Tennessee prosecutors have said that they won’t be able to extradite Mossburg until Florida court proceedings are complete.
Mossburg had been staying in a camp in a wooded area in Greeneville near the laundromat before Short’s death. Law enforcement officials have said that Mossburg allegedly took Short’s car and drove to the Spartanburg area and sold the car. Mossburg eventually took a bus to Orlando, Florida, before traveling to Polk County.
Court documents state that Mossburg allegedly used a knife to kill Marguerite Ethel Morey and Kenneth Rex Beaver in the Winter Haven house they shared with survivor Thomas D. Kohl. Mossburg allegedly held Kohl hostage in the house after he returned home.
Mossburg left the Winter Haven house early on Oct. 14, 2019, in Morey’s sport utility vehicle. He later returned to within several blocks of the murders and barricaded himself in a nearby house.
Mossburg allegedly fired gunshots at Polk County sheriff’s deputies trying to take him into custody during the night of Oct. 14. He struggled with and injured a police K-9 dog early on the morning of Oct. 15 in the garage of the house before being apprehended.
Mossburg allegedly used credit cards and other possessions of Morey and Beaver after their deaths, leading to additional charges being filed against him in February.
Mossburg, also known by the nickname “Woo Woo,” is charged with at least 27 offenses in connection with the Polk County case.
In a document filed in 2019 in 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida, the state formally notified Mossburg that it intends to seek the death penalty. His alleged actions in the murders of Morey and Beaver were “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel,” the document states.
Florida State Attorney Brian Haas wrote in a notice of intent to Mossburg that the state intends to prove eight aggravating factors at trial justifying capital punishment.
One states the capital felony “was a homicide and was committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner without any pretense of moral or legal justification.”