Shaun Runyon: Avenging angel or brutal maniac?

Electrician claims he killed three men because they violated him in the most intimate way.

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Electrician beats men to death
Shaun Runyon
(Polk County Sherriff's Office)

It’s a case that has so far shocked and mystified America in equal measure.

At the weekend, an electrician simply flipped, armed himself with a crossbow and hunted down three co-workers like animals, brutally killing all three.

About the identity of the perpetrator, there is no doubt.

Shaun Runyon of Pennsylvania has admitted to cops in Florida, where the killings occurred, that he beat the three men to death.

However, Runyon, 39, has now made the sensational claim that the three fellow contractors raped him and that is why he decided to exact such a terrible revenge.

The new theory about Runyon’s possible motive for the savage slayings emerged this week as Polk County officials disclosed that the suspect had made the claims.

Runyon has already confessed multiple times to the murders during interviews with detectives, telling them that the co-workers had raped him, and “he hated all three of them,” according to CBS Local Miami.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters that a sexual battery test had failed to underscore Runyon’s allegations of rape.

Nonetheless, a source close to Runyon told Crazy America that it was possible the suspect had “cleaned and treated his butt” in the interim and that such a test may fail to uncover definitive evidence one way or the other.

Certainly, the source close to Runyon, who declined to be identified but was happy to be described as a “family friend”, seemed sure that something very serious must have happened for the electrician to have reacted in such an extreme manner.

“He was no angel, but if he liked you he was a decent guy,” the source said. “If you really push him though, there is a temper. You didn’t see it that often. But when you did, then, boy, you didn’t want to be anywhere near him then.”

Nonetheless, Sheriff Judd expressed skepticism that Runyon’s rampage could really have been triggered by unwanted and unsolicited backdoor intercourse.

“I want to underscore there is absolutely unequivocally zero evidence [of rape],” Judd told reporters.

Runyon and his colleagues were in central Florida to perform work for a Bethlehem, Pa.-based electrical contractor that had been hired by the Publix grocery chain. Runyon’s half-brother owned the company.

Runyon got into an argument and punched his supervisor Friday morning after being criticized for working too slowly. His ultimate boss, his half-brother, told him at that point that he needed to return to Pennsylvania.

According to Judd, Runyon at first seemed ready to return home. He was driving through southern Georgia on his way back when he heard a radio ad about a sale at a sporting good store and stopped at the store to purchase a crossbow, Judd said.

At that point, Runyon decided to drive back to central Florida. He parked his work truck at a Tampa airport, rented another vehicle and on Saturday morning he went to the rental house in Davenport where he had been living with seven colleagues and their family members, including the three co-workers he attacked, Judd said.

Despite having purchased the crossbow, Runyon opted for the more close-range damage that a baseball bat can inflict. Wielding the bat, he first attacked the supervisor who had called him out for his slow work on the job site. The supervisor was sleeping at the time and later died at a hospital.

Runyon the turned the baseball bat on a second colleague who was also sleeping. The amped up electrician then went into a third bedroom to attack another co-worker, who fought back. Runyon pulled out a knife and stabbed the third colleague, who managed to run outside of the house before collapsing and dying on the front porch, Judd said.

Another colleague was hit in the back with the bat, but only once. Runyon then fled the house and drove about 20 miles south to the Lake Wales home of a Publix employee who had planned to hire Runyon to do tile work at his house. Runyon explained his bloodied condition to the Publix employee by saying he had been raped, and the Publix employee urged Runyon to go to a local hospital, which he did. The Publix employee then called the sheriff’s office, and deputies arrested Runyon at the hospital, the sheriff said.

Runyon has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery. It is not known yet whether he has an attorney and he remains in custody.

Runyon had been out on bail from other charges in Pennsylvania, including a felony count of strangulation — applying pressure to the throat — on May 21, along with misdemeanor counts of child endangerment, terroristic threat and reckless endangerment, Sheriff Judd said.

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