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Transient indicted in second slaying

A transient already jailed on charges he killed a Tampa woman was indicted Friday in the slaying of an elderly Cape Coral woman _ months after authorities jailed, charged, then released, a teenager in the case.

Richard J. Thorne, who has no known address and has been held in the Hillsborough County Jail since March 31 in the unrelated Tampa case, killed 78-year-old Charlotte Mills at her Cape Coral home last January, according to the indictment.

That's also according to the same investigators who last spring charged Mrs. Mills' 13-year-old neighbor, Glenn Raneil Green, with killing the widow after she refused to hire him to do her yardwork.

Police said the youth, who was released in April after 90 days in jail, confessed at the time.

Green's confession, his public defender said last spring, likely came from some "legitimate information" and that Green added in whatever investigators wanted to hear.

"He is a 13-year-old boy who has been in special education classes . . .," Deputy Public Defender Marquin Rinard said at the time of his arrest. "He will tell you anything you want to hear."

Mills' beaten and strangled body was found inside her home.

Thorne may have not acted alone in the killing, investigators said Friday.

"It's still an open investigation. There may be other people involved," spokesman Angelo Bitsis of the Cape Coral Police Department said.

Bitsis refused to say just how Thorne is being linked to Mills' death.

In Tampa, Thorne is awaiting trial in the slaying of Francis Farrugia, according to a report released Friday by the state attorney's office.

Thorne also faces charges in Tampa that include two counts of armed robbery, grand theft auto, unlawful possession of a driver's license, possession of marijuana and cocaine, possession of a firearm by a felon, driving on a suspended driver's license and contempt of court.

Thorne, police say, has been linked to a robbery in North Fort Myers and to a burglary at a Cape Coral home in November 1997, as well.

A report from the state attorney's office said robbery charges are also pending against Thorne in Sarasota and Pinellas counties.

Green was released from custody and first-degree murder and burglary charges were dropped April 17, after the youth had turned 14.