A pair of serial killers were charged Thursday in the 1983 rape and murder of two women in Tampa, Florida — after one innocent man was acquitted, authorities announced.
Amos Robinson, 58, and Abron Scott, 57, who are serving life sentences for the second murder, are now charged with the gruesome murders of Barbara Grams, 19, and Linda Lansen, 41.
“We now know that these two men committed a horrific series of rapes and murders in Tampa Bay in the summer and fall of 1983,” said Andrew Warren, who was suspended Thursday by Gov. Ron DeSantis as Hillsborough County state’s attorney.
Two years ago, Tampa’s Conviction Review Unit discovered DNA evidence from a rape kit that led to the exoneration of Robert DuBois, who had been wrongfully imprisoned for 37 years for Gram’s murder.
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The only evidence placing him at the scene was a bite mark on Grams’ face, which an expert claimed matched his teeth.
Bite-mark analysis has been widely dismissed as unreliable in the scientific community.
Authorities submitted a DNA sample found on Grams’ body to a national database and matched Robinson and Scott. Investigators linked the two men to Lansen’s unsolved murder through a DNA sample found in her rape kit.
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Robinson and Scott are currently serving life sentences for the kidnapping and beating of Carlos Orellana – then running him over in his own car on October 22, 1983. But their wave of human destruction began only a few months ago.
“In July, Linda Lansen was found at the end of Memorial Highway in the town and county. She had been raped, shot in the head and thrown into the bushes,” Warren said at a press conference. “In August, Barbara Grams was found behind a dental office in Tampa Heights. She had been beaten and raped.”
Robinson and another man were charged in 1991 in the September 5, 1983 beating death of Hermenia Castro in Tampa, but never went to trial.
Even in prison, Robinson continued his suicidal impulses and killed two fellow inmates, authorities said.
Lansen was a freelance photographer from New York who moved to Tampa as an adult. Nearly 40 years later, there is still a deep void, her niece Linda Sheffield said.
“I miss her so much every day,” she said, wiping away tears. “I still have pictures of her all over my house. I have pictures of her. She was a great artist as well as a photographer.”
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Lansen taught Sheffield how to count to 100, how to apply makeup. “These two not only robbed me, they also robbed a 7-year-old girl and her mother,” she said.
The victim chose not to speak, but Warren read a statement on her behalf thanking investigators for their work.
“The loss of my beautiful mother will remain a nightmare for me,” she wrote.
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The investigation was conducted in cooperation with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
Matteo Cina contributed to this report.