The man arrested in New York Tuesday on charges that he killed James Alan Horton in 1992 has been investigators' chief suspect since Day 1, Horton's mom said Thursday.
Investigators told Rosaline Horton that her son, a 22-year-old sailor aboard the minesweeper Exultant, discovered his superior, Thomas Solheim, having sex with another male sailor. She said for the last 17 years investigators have been working under the theory that her son's death was connected to the discovery.
Late tonight, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office arrested a woman, Konnie Jan Glidden, 38, of Goose Creek on a murder charge in connection with the case.
Glidden is being held at the Hill-Finklea Detention Center and has a bond hearing scheduled for 7 Friday. Authorities could not provide any more details.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents will neither confirm or deny the possible motive but Horton said several crewmembers on board started talking to investigators as soon as her son's body was found bound and shot in a ditch near Summerville.
She said Solheim was arrested soon after but investigators had to let him go because they didn't have enough evidence. No one had seen the two together that night, she said.
"All of these people came forward and said, 'If you want to get anybody, get him (Solheim),' " Horton said. "He's the one who's been under suspicion all of these years.
"They couldn't pin it on him," she said.
Investigators finally got their break in the case late last week when they arranged to talk to another former sailor, Charles Andrew Welty, in his hometown of Missoula, Mont. Welty confessed that he, along with co-defendants, beat, sexually assaulted and killed James Horton, according to an arrest affidavit charging him with murder.
Authorities arrested the 53-year-old Solheim Tuesday night as he was walking near his mother's house in Suffolk County, N.Y., authorities said. He was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday but the hearing was postponed when he had seizures.
Horton, 70, said her son never told her what he saw but she and her daughter knew something was wrong on his last visit to his home in Sherburne, N.Y. He was reluctant to get on the plane, they said.
"He hesitated about it," his mother said. "He said, 'I have to get off that minesweeper' because too many things were going on he didn't like."
Her son would have never told on anybody, she said.
"He wouldn't squeal," Horton said of her son. "I think one of them was afraid that he would."
Ed Buice, public affairs officer for NCIS, said Thursday that Solheim and Horton served on the same ship and knew each other.
He said he could not confirm or deny the possible motive.
"We don't discuss details in an investigation that is still unfolding," Buice said.
NCIS investigators announced in November that they hoped new advances in DNA testing would lead to a possible break in the case. Buice declined to say whether that's what led them to Welty.
"I can't really go into detail of how this all came together but certainly the testing was part of the investigation," he said.