Murder suspect arrested in Ga.
By CHRIS TISCH and LEON M. TUCKER
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 26, 2001
CLEARWATER -- Murder suspect Scott Lang was captured Friday in rural Georgia less than 24 hours after police obtained an e-mail indicating he was on Florida's East Coast.
"We knew he was in the area and called police up there and asked them to be on the lookout," Pinellas County Sheriff Everett Rice said Friday night. "We had a way of finding out he was in the area. The detectives were tracking him."
Lang is suspected of shooting to death Richard E. Hosking, 55, on Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say he then assaulted Hosking's daughter, who is his ex-girlfriend, and stole the family's 1997 silver Honda Civic.
Pinellas sheriff's Sgt. Greg Tita said detectives tracked Lang through an e-mail. He said he did not know if it was the same e-mail Lang sent his brother, Mark, on Thursday.
In that e-mail, Lang said he was filled with remorse.
"I don't know where to begin, in one week's time, I have hurt everyone who cares the most about me. I have killed another person, and I have ruined the lives of many people."
Pinellas deputies were en route to Statesboro on Friday night to interview Lang, said Detective James Winskey of the Statesboro Police Department. Pinellas investigators obtained a first-degree murder warrant for Lang this week.
Lang has ties to Statesboro, a city of 22,698 that's 63 miles northwest of Savannah. He and his older brother, Mark, were adopted there about 12 years ago.
Mark Lang, 20, said his adopted father, Steve Lang, worked as a professor at Georgia Southern University at the time of the adoption. He then moved his family to Florida three years later. Mark Lang also told investigators that Statesboro was one of five places his brother might go.
Scott Lang's pastor, the Rev. Peter Dembroski, said that the boys' adopted mother telephoned him at 5:57 p.m. with news of the capture.
"I feel so relieved," said Dembroski, pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church in Clearwater. "I was able to call a lot of (church) leaders.
In an apparent effort to throw investigators off his trail, Lang said in the e-mail to his brother that he parked the Hoskings' Honda in southeast Florida.
Lang wrote, "i will leave the honda, at the cocoa beach yacht club, in south miami on next to the boat house, this afternoon, the keys will be under the right tire."
This prompted investigators to search marinas in Miami-Dade and Brevard counties. But the car was not there. Tita said it turned up in Statesboro, along with Hosking's .45-caliber handgun, which detectives think was used to kill him.
Some acquaintances of Lang predicted the e-mail was a ruse.
"I think it's a false lead," said Midge Weatherwax, whose family took Lang into their home nine months ago. "I don't think he is where he says he is."
Detectives used Lang's e-mail to alert the Brevard County Sheriff's Office that Lang might be there. Marinas with similar names were checked to no avail. Marina managers at several locations in Miami also checked their parking lots with no luck.
Lang's original e-mail puzzled members of Hope Presbyterian Church, which both Lang and Hosking attended.
In a rambling paragraph, he admits to murder, expresses remorse and says he could never "right the wrongs I have done." Yet a few sentences later, he apparently lies about the location of the car.
"Was his contriteness real or was he just playing another game?" asked Dembroski, the church's pastor.
While detectives searched for Lang, Dembroski met with his elders and deacons Thursday. They made arrangements for a counselor to talk to members over the weekend. They also arranged for Clearwater police to patrol the church during Sunday service.
"There are people who are struggling with fear and pain so we are bringing people in to help us work through it," Dembroski said.
Before the meeting was over, church members comforted Hosking's wife, Lauren, his daughter, sister and son from a previous marriage.
"We just hugged and cried and prayed together," Dembroski said. "They needed the opportunity to allow for some love and care -- that was beautiful."
Meanwhile, Stacy Curley, a member of Hope Presbyterian, spoke on behalf of Scott's brother, Mark, late Friday evening.
"It's a time of closure, but it's still a time for grief," she said. "It will be a long time before a lot of us are healed.
"It's not like this is the end and we're all happy," she said. "We knew Scotty and (the Hosking girl) and it is a hard issue."
- Staff writer Chris Tisch can be reached at (727) 445-4156. Staff writer Leon Tucker can be reached at (727) 445-4167.
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