Trial Set To Begin For Man Accused Of Murdering Three Family Members Four Years Ago

January 11, 2020

An Escambia County man accused of the murder of three family members over four years ago will be in court next week.

Trial is set to begin on January 13 for Donald Wayne Hartung for three counts of first degree premeditated murder in the death of his mother and two half-brothers, Voncile Smith, John Smith, and Richard Smith. State Attorney Bill Eddins said prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty.

All three bodies were found on July 31 in their home on Deerfield Drive. All three were beaten with a claw hammer and their throats slit, and Richard Smith was also shot in the head.

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigation first found witchcraft may have been involved in the killings. But further investigation revealed the motive may have been more financially motivated.


6 Responses to “Trial Set To Begin For Man Accused Of Murdering Three Family Members Four Years Ago”

  1. Beth on January 15th, 2020 9:51 pm

    WHY did this take 4 years to make it to trial???!!! God, I hate the sick justice system this country has!!!!

  2. Dixie on January 13th, 2020 6:00 pm

    I can’t believe that their family had to wait four long years to finally get justice for this merciless act of pure greed and hatred. I hope he gets the death penalty, and may he rot in Hell. He knew how to use the system, so he definitely shouldn’t get off on the insanity plea. I hope the jury gets this right.

  3. Bob C. on January 11th, 2020 12:05 pm

    “The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office investigation first found witchcraft may have been involved in the killings.”

    Groan, seems the ECSO is hung up on “Witchcraft”, “Ninjas” and “Mexican Mafia”.
    Re: the Billings murders of years ago which turned out to be DRUGS and GREED.

    Yep, this guy wanted it all, hope he now gets it ALL for the remainder of his existence.

  4. jason on January 11th, 2020 10:58 am

    Wanted the whole inheritance to his self. I hope the state kills him. Greed,greed, greed . 1/3 of the money, he never worked for wasn’t enough, he had to have it all, wanted his brothers to get a grosery sack full of there dads old underware and sox

  5. Rational on January 11th, 2020 10:13 am

    What took so long? Financially motivated, shocking!

  6. Haze Motes on January 11th, 2020 7:21 am

    So much for a speedy trial. I know, I know, there were probably delay after delay for psych evals and such, but come on he has to get the death penalty whether he’s crazy or not. That is of course if he did it, but since there hasn’t been a similar crime in the past four years I’d say they have their man. I just don’t believe someone can stop killing after this type of crime and if the perp wasn’t locked up there would have been similar crimes committed. If there is overwhelming evidence that he did these heinous murders, he should move to the front of death row and get it over with. The Justice system needs a major overhaul and needs to start considering the restoration of victims and their families, instead of rehabilitation and the comfort of the guilty.

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