Potential jurors questioned about Wicca and Ouija boards in Hartung murder trial

Posted at 1:05 PM, January 15, 2020 and last updated 4:54 PM, July 21, 2023


Jury selection is underway in the Witchcraft Triple Murder Trial. Potential jurors were given unique juror questionnaires asking questions about the Wiccan religion and Ouija boards.

Dubbed the ‘Blue Moon Killer,’ Donald Wayne Hartung is facing the death penalty in the 2015 murders of his mother and two younger brothers.  Hartung allegedly stabbed each victim in their throat, struck them with a hammer and buried them under piles of clothes on July 28, 2015. Their bodies were found three days later inside the home the three victims shared.

Prosecutors from the office of the State Attorney for the 1st Judicial Circuit of Florida laid out their theory of motive in the case against Hartung in several court documents.

One of the most explicit explanations is contained in the state’s response to a defense motion to exclude mentions of the defendant’s Wiccan religion and the victim’s will.

The document includes transcripts of recorded interviews with an inmate who said Hartung confessed to him the murders and described how his Wiccan beliefs were involved in the alleged murder plot.

Transcript Highlights:

  • The state claims evidence of Hartung’s religion and will help establish material elements of intent and motive
  • The “whole motive was money because he was out of the will,” but the Ouija board convinced him to move forward
  • In two recorded interviews on 5/4/16 and 6/17/16, an Escambia County Jail inmate told prosecutors and law enforcement that Hartung confessed to the murders, providing the following details:
    • One of the victims (a brother) molested Hartung’s son when the son was three years old
    • Hartung’s mother did not believe the boy and sided with Hartung’s brother
    • Ever since, Hartung “was messed up with his family about that”
    • Hartung had been planning the murders for four years after learning in 2012 that he was not in the will
    • Getty Images

      The Ouija board “gave him the go-ahead to do it”

    • Before killing his mother, Hartung cut off her pinky finger to get her to tell him the combination to a safe in her room
    • Hartung didn’t bring his dog over to the house like he normally would because of the plan
    • After the murders, he changed his clothes and got rid of them by giving “all the stuff” to a high priest in a Wiccan church

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