NY man wanted in 2 Philippines killings arrested
By RIK STEVENS, Associated Press
Updated 2:19 pm, Friday, April 26, 2013
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Almost two years after a retired British police officer and his live-in girlfriend were shot to death as they slept in the Philippines, New York State Police said Friday they arrested one of the men accused of doing it.
Troopers worked with the FBI and Interpol for several months to track down 35-year-old Timothy Noah Kaufman, state police Capt. Timothy Munro said Friday. They arrested him without incident Wednesday in Clifton Park, a bedroom community north of Albany.
Kaufman had been in New York more than six months, Munro said. Public records show he also lived in Knoxville, Tenn., and in Colorado.
In a posting on its website, the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation says Kaufman and two other men shot 54-year-old David Balmer and his 26-year-old girlfriend, Elma de Guia, in September 2011 as they slept in the home of Balmer's business partner, Richard Agnew, in Angeles City. Agnew discovered their bodies the next day.
Philippines media report the area is in the heart of the country's sex tourism business and that Agnew owns several clubs. He told the Sunday World, an Irish newspaper, he thought the gunmen were targeting him and killed Balmer and de Guia by mistake.
"Those bullets were meant for me. That night I had luck on my side but David did not," Agnew told the newspaper. The NBI bulletin says the two were shot multiple times. Reached by phone early Saturday morning local time, the duty agent at the NBI said nobody was available to talk about the case until Monday morning.
Kaufman; Joseph Stephan Tramontano, an American; and Jesus F. Santos Jr., a Filipino, are each charged with two counts of murder. It could not immediately be learned if either of the other men was in custody. (Santos is presently being detained by the NBI.)
The NBI bulletin included pictures of several IDs reportedly belonging to Kaufman, one of which indicated he was an ex-U.S. Marine. Maj. Shawn Haney, public affairs officer for the Marine's Manpower & Reserve Affairs in Quantico, Va., confirmed Kaufman served in the Marines from Dec. 11, 2000, to Nov. 28, 2005, and was an intelligence specialist, leaving the corps as a corporal. He served in Iraq from Sept. 1, 2004, to March 5, 2005, and earned the Marine Corps Achievement Medal and Good Conduct Medal, among other citations. Kaufman was turned over to U.S. Marshals and faces a May 9 extradition hearing.
HARRY THE HORSE COMMENTS:
It has taken two long years, money and patience to finally get to where Kaufman was arrested, Santos, detained and hopefully, Joe Tramontano will be next. Recently married to his Filipina girlfriend it is hoped that his honeymoon will be spent in jail. The FBI and Interpol know his present location and it would be great to see this one time professional wrestler back here in the Philippines. I wonder if his old girlfriend and new wife knows that she is sleeping with a suspected murderer. One who is suspected of shooting David Balmer and his girlfriend Elma as they slept in bed. A very cowardly act of violence. It would be wonderful to see these two suspects back in the PI to answer many questions, i.e., was it drug related? Who else was involved in the planning of the murders? What was the motive?
Again, I emphasize they are suspects and may be able to prove their innocence but the important thing is that they are apprehended and the justice system determines whether they will be indicted and a trial is scheduled.
It was not easy to get this far in the case. It took the determination of one man, Richard Agnew and the Balmer family in England to continue pushing for justice. Believe me, the local prosecutors here would have done nothing with this case if not forced to do so. I have been covering the case from the beginning and not writing about the details at the request of Richard, the NBI and finally the FBI. I wonder if Richard's attempted assassination was because of his involvement in this case. Are there some people that are afraid of what Tim and Joe can reveal in sworn testimony?
Whatever the case, I am extremely happy to learn of Tim's apprehension and the anticipation of Joe's confinement as well. Let us wait for "The rest of the Story".