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Extradition path cleared for ex-Marine charged with murder in Philippines


ALBANY, N.Y. » A former U.S. Marine charged with killing a couple in the Philippines can face charges there after a federal magistrate in New York ruled today there was sufficient evidence to extradite him.

Timothy Kaufman, 35, will remain behind bars until U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes a decision on surrendering him to Philippine authorities, under the order from Magistrate Randolph Treece.

Kaufman, formerly of Knoxville, Tenn., is one of three men charged by authorities in the Philippines with the 2011 killing of a retired Northern Ireland police officer and his girlfriend. David Balmer, 54, and 26-year-old Elma de Guia were found dead on Sept. 2, 2011, in a bedroom of a home owned by a local club owner who was friends with Balmer.

Kaufman was arrested in April near his grandfather’s upstate New York home. He professed his innocence at a court hearing last month and his lawyer Mark Sacco argued that Philippine authorities failed to establish probable cause.

Treece rejected that argument in the ruling, saying the evidence was "sufficient to sustain the charges" against Kaufman under provisions of the extradition treaty between the United States and the Philippines.

There was no immediate comment from Sacco.

Kaufman left the Philippines a month after the killings. He was arrested in April at a Saratoga Springs-area business, near where he had been staying with his grandfather. Kaufman testified at his hearing that he had had been living in the open before his arrest, working part-time as a bartender and holding a driver’s license.

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