A former U.S. sailor who feared being turned in for having gay sex aboard a Navy vessel recruited three others to help him kill a crewman who witnessed the encounter nearly two decades ago, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press.
Thomas Solheim, 53, of Montauk, N.Y., was arrested near his home last month on a fugitive warrant linking him to the 1992 killing of a sailor near a South Carolina naval base. Three others - all former Navy personnel - also have been arrested in recent weeks in connection with the death of 22-year-old James Horton.
Solheim had been fighting extradition, but a New York judge on Monday ruled that all the legal paperwork regarding his arrest was in proper order, clearing the way for authorities to transport him to South Carolina to face murder, kidnapping and other charges.
He was represented by a public defender from Legal Aid, which has a policy of not commenting on pending cases. A message left at the Legal Aid office also was not returned.
Horton, a native of Sherburne, N.Y., was found hands tied behind his back with a gunshot wound to the chest in a watery ditch northwest of Charleston, S.C., in November of 1992. He had been sexually assaulted and struck in the head with a blunt object. Authorities believe he was killed Oct. 30, although his body wasn't found until two weeks later. Horton was stationed at the Charleston Naval Base at the time. The base closed in the mid-1990s.