Crime - Sacto 911

Silas Boston, 76, dies awaiting trial in maritime murder of British tourists in 1978

Silas Duane Boston, depicted in a December 2016 court appearance.
Silas Duane Boston, depicted in a December 2016 court appearance. Sacramento Bee file

Silas Duane Boston, a former Sacramento man charged with killing two British tourists in the Caribbean nearly four decades ago, has died, his son said Monday.

His lawyers had told a federal judge last week that Boston, who suffered from heart disease, was hospitalized and that he might be gravely ill and unable to face trial.

Boston drew international media attention since he was arrested in December at a nursing home in the rural Northern California community of Paradise and later charged with two counts of maritime murder in an unsolved case involving two tourists. The tourists were allegedly beaten, hogtied and dumped from his boat in 1978 after an ocean cruise from Belize.

Sacramento police were also investigating Boston as a suspect in the 1968 disappearance of his former wife, Mary Lou Boston, of Sacramento. In court documents, authorities said they believe she was shot to death and buried near a remote Northern California creek.

Federal public defender Lexi Negin told United States District Judge John A. Mendez that Boston went to the hospital earlier in April in serious condition.

“There has been more dire information about this hospitalization,” Negin said April 19. “If he weren’t in custody, he would probably be referred to hospice care.”

On Monday night, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department announced the death of a 76-year-old inmate at the Sacramento County Main Jail but did not identify him as Boston.

The inmate – later identified by Vince Boston as his father – had been in jail since Dec. 1. He died shortly after 5 p.m. Monday at a local hospital. He had been in the hospital since April 6, suffering from significant health problems, according to a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department news release.

Vince Boston, who lives in Arizona, said the Sheriff’s Department notified him Monday that his father had died but didn’t offer any details on the cause of death. The son declined further comment.

In accordance with department procedures, the Sheriff’s Department will complete an inmate death investigation. The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office will determine the cause of death.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy