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Third man charged in '98 slaying of officer

A Polk County man could get life in prison if convicted on charges he helped the man who shot and killed a Haines City police officer eight years ago, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Robert Earl Winston Jr., 26, who listed his last address in Davenport, has been charged with aiding and abetting the killer of Officer Christopher Todd Horner and aiding and abetting a person who carried a firearm during a crime of violence.

Winston is already in jail in Charlotte County, after being arrested in May 2004 for resisting arrest with violence and threatening harm. The latest charges are in a federal grand jury indictment announced Thursday.

Winston is the third man to be indicted in connection with Horner's murder on March 3, 1998.

Investigators have said they think Horner was shot to death when he happened upon a meeting of robbers who had been hitting area businesses.

Horner, a 35-year-old father of six, was found shot to death in a cemetery about 30 minutes after he radioed a dispatcher that he was checking on a suspicious car. He was shot once in the back of the head with his own police handgun.

Christopher B. Gamble, 30, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the slaying and has has been in federal prison since last year serving a sentence of life followed by 107 years. Gamble said he put the gun under Horner's body to make it look like a suicide.

Last month, a federal judge sentenced Andre Paige, 26, to life in federal prison plus 60 years for Horner's murder.

Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this story.

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