Palmer man arraigned in shooting of Sutton woman

Posted: Monday, April 15, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska State Troopers say theft was a motive behind the shooting death of a Sutton woman earlier this month.

William T. Horsey III, Palmer, was arraigned Saturday in the shooting death of Jane Sasseen, 65, whose body was found buried under clothes and boxes in her walk-in closet.

Horsey, who lived three miles away, demanded money from Sasseen in early April and then shot her three times when he became impatient, troopers said.

Authorities tipped off by a bank manager identified Horsey from surveillance videotapes at two automatic teller machines in Palmer, they said.

Over nine days, Horsey stole $4,500 through daily ATM withdrawals using Sasseen's debit card, according to an affidavit that Trooper Randel McPherron filed Saturday in Palmer District Court.

Horsey acknowledged he used most of the money to buy drugs, the affidavit said.

He is being held at Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility in Anchorage in lieu of $500,000 cash bail on charges of first- and second-degree murder, first-degree robbery, second-degree theft and fraudulent use of an access device.

According to the affidavit, Horsey on April 2 went to Sasseen's home and demanded money. She gave him what money she had and then went into her bedroom closet to get her purse.

But Horsey became impatient when Sasseen didn't give him the money quickly enough. He shot her three times -- in the head, chest and abdomen -- and then ransacked the house and rifled through her purse, finding the ATM card and its PIN.

Last Tuesday, the manager of First National Bank of Alaska contacted troopers after he read newspaper accounts of Sasseen's death, ran a records check and noticed that someone was still using the debit card. Records revealed withdrawals of about $500 a day at several ATMs around Palmer.

Troopers staked out machines and spotted Horsey at one near midnight one night, though he did not make a withdrawal. They later viewed surveillance videotapes at two of the banks.

The videotapes and surveillance led troopers to the suspect. Troopers from Anchorage and Palmer obtained search warrants Friday and then went to Horsey's house and later arrested him.

Authorities found the debit card on the suspect, along with $180 in cash. A .38 Special, the type of weapon used in the shooting, was found in a bathroom of a travel trailer on Horsey's property.

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