Charges dropped against two defendants in 1992 murder of Charleston based sailor

Charges dropped against two defendants in 1992 murder of Charleston based sailor

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charges have been dropped against defendants in the 1992 murder of a Charleston based sailor.

According to court filings, charges of murder, kidnapping, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct were dismissed on Sept. 15 against Konnie Glidden and Charles Welty.

Both had been charged in the shooting death of James Horton, and had previously confessed to the crime, according to investigators.

Horton, at the time a sailor on the USS Exultant, was found in a drainage ditch off Sheep Island Road in Summerville with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Authorities say he also was hit in the head with a blunt object and sexually assaulted.

According to court documents filed by Assistant Solicitor David Osborne, the charges were dismissed due to "evidentiary problems."

The court documents state Horton walked in on Thomas Solheim having sex with another male sailor.

According to those court papers, a witness told investigators Solheim became enraged and feared Horton would report him to superiors.

The court papers also suggest Solheim had a violent past.

He was accused of threatening to kill a former lover, and bragged that when he was a teenager he stabbed someone to death.

Solheim also was charged in Horton's murder but died in 2013. The charges against him were dismissed.

Charges against a fourth suspect Doug Emery were dropped three years ago due to a lack of evidence, according to authorities.

Emery was a friend of the group.

In the court filings in Glidden and Welty's case, Osborne wrote it is "impossible to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt," and that the only evidence linking the two to the crime is their own statements.

Prosecutors said Glidden and Welty, who is her former boyfriend gave inconsistent statement during their interviews with investigators.

According to the court papers, Welty at first admitted to killing Horton, but in a follow up interview only admitted to witnessing the murder.

Authorities say Welty said Horton's body was left at the beach, when it actually was dumped in a hunting tract in Summerville.

The court documents state Welty told investigators Horton was beaten with a baseball bat and a small statue, then shot in the head.

Authorities said Horton actually was shot in the chest.

During her interviews, Glidden said she had a "lapse in memory" about the murder.

The court papers state when asked to take investigators to where Horton's body was found she led them to the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, miles away from where the body was found.

Osborne wrote, "It is possible both were involved in Horton's death." He concluded, "There is no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt either are involved in the murder and there is a possibility both are innocent."

The court papers state Horton's family members "are in agreement" to dismiss the charges.

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