ALBANY – More than 20 months after the bodies of a retired Northern Ireland police officer and his girlfriend were found in a Philippines bedroom littered with bullet casings, authorities seeking the extradition of a former U.S. Marine say they have linked him to guns used in the killings and recovered blood-splattered jeans he tried to have burned.
Timothy Kaufman, 35, was arrested last month near his grandfather’s upstate New York home. He faces extradition proceedings in a federal court in Albany to answer to murder charges in the Philippines.
Philippine authorities seeking his return allege a premeditated killing in an area known for its sometimes-seamy club scene – a picture at odds with the dedicated former military intelligence specialist described by his grandfather. “He’s a very fine person. He’s a former United States Marine. He fought for his country,” said his grandfather, Sidney Kaufman.
David Balmer, 54, and Elma de Guia, 26, were found dead on Sept. 2, 2011, in a bedroom in the Angeles City home of Richard Agnew, a club owner and friend of Balmer’s dating to when they joined Northern Ireland’s Royal Ulster Constabulary in the late 1970s. Eighteen spent 9 mm shells were recovered from the scene.
Within three months of the killing, Kaufman and two other men were charged with two counts of murder.
Kaufman was identified by watchmen and by surveillance footage as one of three men in a vehicle that entered the residential subdivision the night of the killings. Also charged are Joseph Tramontano, an American, and Jesus Santos Jr., a Filipino, who police say was the driver.
Santos was arrested in March. Tramontano, a former professional wrestler who managed a bar operated by Agnew, is believed to be at large in Asia.
Court papers allege that after the killings, Kaufman asked his maid to burn the contents of a garbage bag that contained shoes and clothes worn by Kaufman and Tramontano. In a separate incident, Kaufman asked the maid, “Can you bury something for me?” and handed her two guns wrapped in a bath towel, the papers say. The maid turned the guns over to the police, who determined they were used in the killings. Authorities said the recovered jeans had tiny blood splatters.
Police were investigating a motive, though an investigator said recently they were “looking at the drug angle.” He said the two American suspects had been using cocaine and crystal methamphetamine.