An attorney for cold-case murder suspect Konnie Glidden gets the chance today to question the investigators who, the attorney claims, coerced her client’s confession.
Glidden wants a judge to throw out that confession, saying that she made false statements about the 1992 killing of sailor James Horton under pressure from authorities. Her attorney, Kate Landess of Columbia, filed a motion seeking a court hearing to determine whether investigators violated Glidden’s civil rights to obtain the confession and build their case.
A Charleston circuit judge will hear that motion this afternoon. “If the judge determines confessions or statements are inadmissible for some reason, that would lead to a dismissal,” Landess said Tuesday. “Ultimately, this hearing could lead to a dismissal.” She said the judge could rule from the bench or take the motion under advisement and decide later.
Glidden, a 40-year-old former Navy medic, awaits trial on charges of murder, kidnapping and rape and, if convicted, could face life in prison. She is one of three people accused of participating in the beating, gang rape and killing of Horton in Berkeley County.
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 had been shot in the chest, beaten in the head with a blunt object and sexually assaulted.
Glidden’s own words led to her arrest and implicated three others: Thomas Solheim, 53, of Montauk, N.Y.; Charles Welty, 38, of Missoula, Mont.; and Orval Douglas Emery, 40, of Hemet, Calif. Solheim served aboard the Exultant with Emery and Horton. Welty served on the Frank Cable. Glidden worked as a hospital corpsman at the former Navy Hospital.
Late last year, prosecutors dropped the charges against Emery, citing a lack of evidence. No trial date has been set for the remaining suspects.
Glidden now contends that her confession followed an emotional meltdown after eight hours of grueling interrogation led by a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent. Glidden insists that she never met Horton and barely knew the other suspects arrested in his death.