Cold case murder suspect Konnie Glidden wants a judge to throw out her confession, arguing that investigators coerced her into making false statements about the 1992 killing of sailor James Horton.
Her attorney, Kate Landess of Columbia, recently filed a motion seeking a court hearing to determine whether investigators violated Glidden’s civil rights in obtaining the confession and building their case.
No date has been set for the hearing. Landess said she must question the investigators in open court, and she has been told that the federal agent who obtained Glidden’s confession is out of the country fighting pirates.
Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said she hopes the case will go to trial sometime this year, but a hearing on Landess’ motion must be held first. She declined to comment on the points Landess raised in her motion.
Glidden, a 40-year-old former Navy medic, is awaiting trial on charges of murder, kidnapping and rape — felonies that could put her behind bars for life.
She is one of three people accused of participating in the 1992 beating, gang rape and killing of Horton in Berkeley County. Her own words led to her arrest and implicated three others in the grisly killing.
But Glidden now maintains that the confession she gave two years ago was a pack of lies, the product of an emotional meltdown after eight hours of grueling interrogation led by Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent Kaylyn Dueker, who is reportedly out of the country.
In her motion, Landess states that Glidden’s confession was the product of investigators browbeating her until the point where her mind went to “a place far-far away” and she concocted a story just to make them stop.
Landess said the confession was riddled with inaccuracies that contradict other statements and evidence in the case. She also accused agents of failing to pursue leads that didn’t fit their theory of the case and failing to turn over key documents and evidence to the defense.
Landess’ motion also states that the lead agent in the case, Stanley Garland of the NCIS, “methodically and systematically manipulated Glidden’s statements and has even falsified documents and facts during the course of his investigation.”
Garland declined to comment Monday on Landess’ statements.
Glidden insists she never met Horton, barely knew her co-defendants and had nothing to do with his killing.
Horton, 22, was stationed at the former Charleston Naval Base, assigned to the ocean minesweeper Exultant, when his body was found in a drainage ditch off Sheep Island Road on Nov. 14, 1992.
He lay face down in about 4 feet of water with his hands tied behind his back. He had been shot in the chest, struck on the head with a blunt object and sexually assaulted.
Glidden became a suspect after NCIS reopened the case in late 2009. The following July, Berkeley County authorities arrested her; Thomas Solheim, 53, of Montauk, N.Y.; Charles Welty, 38, of Missoula, Mont.; and Orval Douglas Emery, 40, of Hemet, Calif.
Solheim was a gunner’s mate who served aboard the Exultant with Emery, an engineman, and Horton, a boatswain’s mate. Welty, an electrician’s mate, was assigned to the Frank Cable. Glidden was a hospital corpsman at the former Navy Hospital on Rivers Avenue.
Late last year, prosecutors dropped the charges against Emory, citing a lack of evidence.
No trial date has been set for Glidden’s remaining co-defendants.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.