State Attorney Andrew Warren announced Thursday that thanks to DNA evidence, a cold case investigation has implicated two men in a pair of Tampa cold cases from 1983.
The men are already serving life sentences in prison in unrelated cases, Warren said.
What You Need To Know
- State Attorney Andrew Warren announced Thursday that two men have been charged in connection with a pair of Tampa cold cases from 1983
- He said DNA evidence that surfaced in 2020 led investigators to connect the case to similar crimes
- The announcement came shortly after Warren discussed Gov. Ron DeSantis suspending him from his position as state attorney
- RELATED: State Attorney Andrew Warren responds after suspension by Gov. DeSantis
The multi-year investigation that exonerated Robert DuBoise for a 1983 rape and murder in 2020 has now led to indictments in another rape and murder that went unsolved for nearly 40 years.
Warren announced the indictments Thursday, shortly after his response to his removal from the position by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
According to Warren, after locating DNA evidence in 2020 that established DuBoise did not rape and kill Barbara Grams in 1983, the investigation continued to work toward identifying her actual killers.
During that investigation, Warren said the Crime Reinvestigation Unit also examined other unsolved deaths from the same time in Tampa, which led to the unit reopening the case of Linda Lansen’s rape and murder, which also took place in 1983.
Detectives say evidence could ultimately link the same two men to both murders.
“The two men who actually killed Barbara Grams 39 years ago have been identified," said Warren, who established Hillsborough’s CRU in 2018. "They are still alive, and they will finally face a reckoning for what they’ve done.
“And, in another breakthrough for justice, we have discovered these two men also committed another rape and murder in 1983, taking the life of Linda Lansen. Today, we can deliver answers for Linda’s family and peace for her soul.”
The two men are serving life sentences for the killing of Carlos Orellana in Oldsmar, Fla., on Oct. 22, 1983.
“Because of our Conviction Review Unit, we now know Amos Robinson and Abron Scott carried out a sinister spree of rapes and murders in Tampa in 1983,” Warren said. “These men are serial murderers and rapists. Although they are already serving life sentences, their crimes against Barbara Grams and Linda Lansen cannot, and will not, go unpunished.”
On July 11, 1983, 41-year-old Linda Lansen was found at the end of Memorial Highway in the Town ‘n’ Country area of Tampa. Investigators said she had been raped, shot in the head and dumped in the bushes.
About a month later, on Aug. 19, 1983, 19-year-old Barbara Grams was found behind a dentist’s office in the Tampa Heights area — she had also been raped and killed.
Warren said Lansen was a freelance photographer who grew up in New York and had moved to Tampa as an adult. Grams, he said, was a friendly, outgoing teenager from Tampa, who had a job at the mall and liked to walk to stay fit.
After decades of false closure, or no closure at all, surviving family members say they now have answers.
“When it happened, it was shock and disbelief, whereas now it’s more retrospective," said Linda Sheffield, Lansen’s niece, close friend and roommate. "This is a day that I never ever thought would come, so to have somebody accountable for what they did, not only to my aunt, but to everyone else and every other family they touched, is beyond anything I would have expected. It means everything to me."
Warren credited the Conviction Review Unit with putting the evidence together that resulted in charges against Robinson and Scott.
“When we created our Conviction Review Unit, it was the first in Tampa Bay and one of the first in Florida," he said "The CRU reviews plausible claims of innocence — it’s there to safeguard against wrongful convictions. As we see today, in the rare case when the wrong person is convicted, the actual criminals get away with the crime.
"But for these victims, that stops now. This shows the power of a Conviction Review Unit to right wrongs, uncover the truth and deliver justice for victims — even after almost 40 years.”