Benjamin Moulton worked around vulnerable patients at Sunniland before murder confession – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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Ah, yes, what better place to be than Sunniland Assisted Living Facility, where folks can sit on a porch in rocking chairs, under the shade of a stately oak, or water vegetables in a courtyard as the ambrosial fragrance of a gardenia tree floats through the air and fills their lungs with joy.

Another selling point: No more killers live there.

That’s because a 43-year-old man named Benjamin Moulton did something recently that never happens anywhere. He walked into the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and admitted to killing 29-year-old Nicole Rose Scott in 2011. Apparently, he “found Jehovah and couldn’t live with the guilt.”

On Dec. 11, 2011, Scott’s body was found partially nude in a ditch north of University Parkway. She had been strangled to death, a black shirt around her neck, and within a few feet of her body was a knife. Her killer was a mystery.

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Now, a killer could be anywhere and anyone. Standing next to you at Publix, fixing your sprinkler system, even traveling with his girlfriend in a van. In this case, a killer was not only living and working at the six-bed assisted living facility in Sarasota for residents with dementia but was also the chief financial officer. This is quite shocking, especially considering Moulton could have been arrested years ago.

In February 2012, the state’s Agency of Health Care Administration began investigating a complaint from the family member of a Sunniland resident who claimed Moulton was at the facility “all the time, working inside and outside,” and further stated that “yes, he lives here at the facility somewhere.”

Keep in mind at the time of this statement, which was documented in the administrative complaint against the facility, it had only been weeks since Moulton killed Scott in December 2011.

Not only that, but around that same time in December 2011, a prostitute who was nine months pregnant told Sarasota Police she drove with Moulton to a motel by the airport for sex and that he choked her unconscious and raped her.

Even more: On Jan. 26, 2012, Moulton broke into the home of a Sarasota woman and shoved her in a bedroom while armed with a knife. He was charged with burglary and battery and listed the Sunniland address as where he lived.

Wanda Sue Moulton, Benjamin’s mother and the CEO of Sunniland, was interviewed several times by the state, according to the administrative complaint.

At first, she denied Moulton lived at the facility, and later said that well, yes, he stayed there sometimes because his son lived there. She later said the Department of Children and Families had removed Moulton’s son from the facility “because of what his father did.”

She went on to say Moulton was “accused of killing someone” but “my son would never do that.”

Because of the arrest for burglary and battery in January 2012, the state changed Moulton’s required Level 2 background screening to “ineligible” the next month, and said his presence at the facility “directly threatened the physical, emotional health, safety and security of clients.” Sunniland was fined $2,000 for failure to remove him.

As part of the background check necessary to work at an assisted living facility, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI were required to have Moulton’s fingerprints.

That raises a question: Did Moulton leave fingerprints on the knife that was found next to Scott in 2011? Seems almost impossible to think he wouldn’t have touched it during a struggle. He could have worn gloves, of course, but if fingerprints were found, and matched to what the FBI was required to possess, Moulton could have been arrested a decade ago. Who knows?

He wouldn’t have been around any of the elderly dementia patients during that time either. Up until last week, he has been associated with the facility ever since the murder.

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In 2015, for example, he listed the facility as his address when he ran a red light in Manatee County and was arrested for DUI.

Also, he has been listed with state business records as the CFO of Sunniland – once in 2014 and again from 2018 to 2021.

Last week, after he turned himself in and was charged with first-degree murder, the address was listed again on the probable cause affidavit as his residence:

Sunniland, where folks can sit on a porch in rocking chairs, under the shade of a stately oak, or water vegetables in the courtyard as the ambrosial fragrance of a gardenia tree floats through the air and fills their lungs with joy.

Contact columnist Chris Anderson at chris.anderson@heraldtribune.com. Please support local journalism by purchasing a digital subscription.