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Restaurateur Faces Slaying Charges

October 26, 2000

NARBERTH, Pa. (AP) _ Four years after a 31-year-old restaurant owner was shot to death, his business partner was accused of killing him to cash in on a $650,000 life insurance policy the men had taken out on one another.

Guy Sileo, 33, was charged with murder Wednesday in the slaying of James Webb. He already is serving a three-year jail sentence imposed in December 1998 for lying to the grand jury investigating the killing.

Sileo made no comment at his arraignment. Defense attorney Richard D. Winters said his client was ``not responsible for Mr. Webb’s death.″

District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr., in a 25-page criminal complaint filed this week, alleged Sileo wanted to use the insurance payoff to remove a ``mountain of debt″ at the General Wayne Inn in suburban Philadelphia. Investigators said the inn was more than $1 million in debt in late 1996, and Webb and Sileo were feuding.

Webb was shot in the head with a .25-caliber pistol on Dec. 26, 1996. He was found in the restaurant’s third-floor office the next morning by the pastry chef, Betty Costanzo. When she called 911, she said Webb had looked to have fallen and hit his head. She later said she did not see the gunshot wound.

Prosecutors said Sileo became a suspect at once after he told Webb’s wife that her husband had been shot. Only the authorities and the criminal could have known Webb had been shot, Castor said.

Using a wiretap, prosecutors recorded a conversation in which Sileo allegedly told a friend he had a .25-caliber gun that police did not know about.

Castor said he delayed filing charges while the state Supreme Court ruled on the legality of the phone intercept. The court ruled in July that the wire tap was legal.

The murder weapon has not been found.

Webb’s mother, Terry Webb, said she felt justice finally was done.

``We would never think that he was capable of this, or that he would do this to my family,″ she said.

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