April 12, 2001 (COLUMBIA, S.C.) – Police believe they have finally closed their investigation into the killing of a cab driver 40 years ago.
Edward Freiburger, 58, pleaded innocent Wednesday. Freiburger, now a father and grandfather known for his work with young people at his church in Columbia City, Ind., was a young soldier stationed at Fort Jackson in South Carolina when he allegedly bought a gun, shot John Orner during a robbery and took off.
Freiburger became a suspect a few weeks after Orner’s body was found on a highway embankment when he was stopped by a state trooper in Tennessee who discovered that he was AWOL and carrying a gun. But ballistics tests available at the time were inconclusive. Two years ago, a retired Richland County sheriff’s investigator, Carl Craig, convinced authorities to run new tests.
Orner, a native of Valley Forge, Pa., had also been stationed at Fort Jackson and settled in the area after marrying a local woman. He was driving a cab to supplement his Army pension.