A father and son pleaded guilty in Barnstable Superior Court Friday to killing a man in a South Yarmouth beach parking lot in 2009. According to a release from the Cape Cod & Islands District Attorney's Office, 75-year-old William F. Horton, Jr. of South Dennis, and his son, 27-year-old Phililp R. Horton of Apopka, FL were sentenced by Judge Gary A. Nickerson.
The Hortons were arrested in 2011 following a two-year long investigation into the murder of 24-year-old Joseph F. Tomaselli, Jr.
On the night of April 19, 2009, Tomaselli was found in a pickup truck in a parking area near South Shore Drive in South Yarmouth unconscious, bleeding and suffering from a gunshot wound to the head Tomaselli was transported to Cape Cod Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The elder Horton was arrested on the Cape and his son was arrested in Florida and returned to the Cape to be arraigned following an investigation by State Police detectives and Yarmouth detectives which involved a wiretap, according to the DA's Office.
William F. Horton, Jr. pleaded guilty to first degree murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in state prison. William Horton admitted to planning Tomaselli's murder and pulling the trigger, the release said.
Philip R. Horton pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 to 20 years in state prison. Philip Horton admitted to luring Tomaselli, who was his friend, to the parking area and standing watch while his father shot him, according to the DA's Office.
In addition to the murder-related charges, Philip Horton pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance (oxycodone) and five counts of distribution of a Class D substance (marijuana). The charges were a result of a 2011 undercover investigation conducted by the Cape & Islands Drug Task Force. On the drug charges, Judge Nickerson sentenced Philip Horton to 5 years probation concurrent on each charge and to follow the committed manslaughter sentence.
Rumors and speculation about drug dealing surrounded the execution-style murder when news of the crime first broke.
Assistant District Attorney Sharon J. Thibeault was the lead prosecutor on the cases, according to the release.