Sheriff: Drifter beat Polk man to death

- A week after the body of a homeless man was found in an isolated area south of Mulberry, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office just revealed the horrific way he was killed.

Sheriff Grady Judd says Douglas Bowling was homeless when he bumped into three drifters who had just arrived from South Carolina a few weeks ago.

Investigators say one day Bowling angered Christopher Taylor, who melted down and began beating him with a frying pan.  When the handle broke off, he got another frying pan to beat him even more.

Taylor allegedly told his girlfriend Kristina Sluss to tell his brother. Gary Taylor, to bring him a bat. The attack continued until Taylor knocked Bowling out.

“He then comes to and begs Christopher, ‘Please don’t beat me anymore. Please let me go.’ That didn’t work so well, so they started beating him, and beating him, and beating him some more,” Judd said.

Detectives say Taylor told Sluss to turn up the music so neighbors wouldn’t hear what was going on.

Once Bowling was dead, the three went to Taylor’s dad’s house for dinner.  When they got back, investigators say they dumped Bowling’s body in an orange grove, where a worker later found him.

Bowling’s right hand was cut off.  When detectives went to Taylor’s place, they found a sticker on Taylor’s car -- a sticker of someone with their hand cut off, suspected in murders elsewhere around the country.

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