On lam since 1973, 64-year-old is arrested

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) – A 64-year-old man who had eluded the law for 33 years and had lived a quiet life as a groundskeeper on a Westchester estate was among dozens of fugitives tracked down over the last two months by police and federal marshals, officials said Friday.

Michael Nahorney, who had changed his name to John Williams, was “shocked and staggered” when agents found him last month in the caretaker’s cottage of the estate in Katonah where he had worked for nearly 20 years, said Joseph LaBue, a supervising deputy marshal.

“But afterward he seemed relieved that he could finally use his own name,” LaBue said.

Nahorney had been charged with robbery in Yonkers and with kidnapping in New York City in 1973 but went on the lam rather than show up in court, said county police Commissioner Thomas Belfiore. Warrants were issued in 1974 to no avail.

But federal “high-level databases” helped find him, apparently based on a minor violation he committed under his new name, Belfiore said. He wouldn’t reveal specifics about how they tracked him down.

“He was released, as would be normal, and after his release there was some indication that this Mr. Williams might be Mr. Nahorney,” he said.

Nahorney has since pleaded guilty in the robbery and is scheduled for sentencing next month. The New York City case will be adjudicated after he has served his sentence. A call to his lawyer, Paul Pickelle, was not immediately returned.

Nahorney is married; his wife will not face charges, the commissioner said.

Westchester County police and probation officials had approached the U.S. Marshal Service with the names of about 50 of their most-wanted fugitives, and a task force was formed that gave the local officials access to federal resources. Since Feb. 21, 32 of the fugitives have been arrested, two were found to have died and nine were found to be overseas, said County Executive Andrew Spano.

Besides Nahorney, those arrested included Douglas Walker, 41, who allegedly raped a 4-year-old in 2001. He was tracked to Salemsburg, N.C., where he had posed as a victim of Hurricane Katrina and had been given a job, the use of a car and help in finding a home, Belfiore said.

Also arrested was Rodney Alston, 18, who was charged with murder last year in the killing of a New Rochelle bouncer. He was found in Cobb County, Ga.

Among the dead was John Herold, who had been accused of sexual abuse of a minor in 1967. He had fled to Milwaukee, Wis., and taken a new identity. He died in 1998.

Some of the fugitives took off after being charged and some had violated probation after being sentenced, said Probation Commissioner Rocco Pozzi.

LaBue said Nahorney was “one of the oldest cases” he’s seen that resulted in an arrest. “We’ve had 20, 25 years, but this is 33.”

AP-ES-04-21-06 1753EDT

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