Sunday 24 September 2017

Man charged over 1978 murder of British tourists dies

Silas Duane Boston, of California, had been charged with first-degree maritime murder over the 1978 deaths of Britons Christopher Farmer and Peta Frampton
Silas Duane Boston, of California, had been charged with first-degree maritime murder over the 1978 deaths of Britons Christopher Farmer and Peta Frampton

A man awaiting trial over the murder of two British tourists on his boat nearly four decades ago has died.

Silas Duane Boston, 76, died on Monday night while he was being treated in hospital for what Sacramento County officials in California said were significant health problems.

He had pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree maritime murder in the 1978 deaths of Christopher Farmer and Peta Frampton, both 25 and originally from Manchester.

Boston was arrested on December 2 at his home in Paradise, California.

He owned a boat named the Justin B that he sailed around the western Caribbean Sea, federal prosecutors said, adding that his victims had chartered his vessel from Belize.

Authorities said the tourists drowned after Boston tied them up and pushed them overboard.

Their bodies were found in July 1978 off the coast of Guatemala.

Boston's two young sons, then aged 11 and 13, were also on board the boat at the time and recently implicated their father in the killings, according to court documents.

They said he killed them because they had laughed at him earlier when he fell into the water while drunk.

Mr Farmer's mother, who is aged in her 90s, had sought a speedy trial because of the age of the suspect and the victims' families.

Boston could have faced life in prison if convicted.

The prosecution was the result of a cold case investigation by Sacramento police detectives who were investigating Boston in connection with the disappearance in 1968 of his former wife, Mary Lou Boston.

AP

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