Teen Witness Could Solve 1978 Murder at Sea

Silas Boston, 75, charged with killing British couple on his boat in Caribbean
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2016 8:39 AM CST
Teen Witness Could Solve 1978 Murder at Sea
Silas Boston is charged with killing Christopher Farmer, center, on a boat in 1978 with his two young sons (pictured) aboard.   (U.S. District Court)

Nearly 40 years after he took a young British couple sailing on his boat, a California retiree has been charged with killing them, the Sacramento Bee reports. Prosecutors say Silas Duane Boston, 75, beat and hog-tied Christopher Farmer and girlfriend Peta Frampton aboard his boat in Belize before throwing them overboard 38 years ago. The Manchester couple were in their 20s and recent law and medical school graduates when they were killed, and their bodies were found floating off the coast of Guatemala in July 1978. Although the skipper was suspected in the deaths, investigators could not make the charges stick until they caught a break while looking into the 1968 disappearance of Boston's wife, Mary Lou. (Boston is alleged to have shot and killed her.)

During an interview in that earlier case, Boston's son, Vince, revealed what happened aboard his dad's boat when he was 13 years old. His younger brother Russell was also aboard and implicated his father, reports ABC 10. Instead of taking the couple to Mexico, Boston, then 37, allegedly became enraged after an argument, beat and stabbed Farmer, then threw him and Frampton overboard after tying them up. If convicted, Boston faces life in prison. He was arrested earlier this month at the convalescent home where he lived, and appeared at his arraignment on double murder charges in a wheelchair. He did not speak. Boston is also suspected in other killings, prosecutors said. (Australian police have gotten a break in a 47-year-old cold case.)

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