- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 22, 2002

A former Fairfax County resident surrendered to authorities yesterday in a slaying that police say he committed 27 years ago.
Paul Stanley Sorensen, 43, a retired Navy officer, drove from his home in Corpus Christi, Texas, and was arrested yesterday morning in the killing of Jesse "Tom" Shriner on Jan. 19, 1975, at a Merrifield 7-Eleven.
Mr. Shriner, 46, of Leesburg, was working as a clerk at the convenience store at 2915 Cedar Lane when he was stabbed numerous times in the chest and back, police said. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken.
During the initial investigation, detectives interviewed Mr. Sorensen, but made no arrests. Mr. Sorensen, who was 16 at the time, was known to have been in the store the morning of the killing.
He later graduated from Oakton High School and then joined the Navy, where he served for more than 20 years as a chief petty officer, according to Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Horan.
Spokesmen for the Fairfax County and Navy cold-case squads praised the work of detectives on the case, and Mr. Horan, who was commonwealth's attorney in 1975, said it was gratifying to have moved a step closer to solving the case.
"You always like them to get solved right away," he said, "but as long as you have critical witnesses still available, as we do, you can still prosecute the case."
The fact that Mr. Sorensen came voluntarily from Texas to Fairfax County indicated a desire to rid himself of guilt about the crime, Mr. Horan said.
"He was aware that we were going to seek an indictment, and he indicated we wouldn't have to extradite him," he said.
Mr. Sorensen was indicted Monday by a grand jury after new information about the crime was uncovered by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Cold Case Homicide Unit, which was working with the Fairfax County Police Department's Cold Case Homicide Squad.
"This is an example of what teamwork can do," said James Grebas, program manager for the naval cold-case unit. "We became involved because he was still in the Navy and he was still a suspect."
The unit was started in 1995, after a Navy lieutenant was killed in the Virgin Islands and there was no initial resolution of the case.
Mr. Horan chose not to comment on the new evidence, but ruled out recovery of a murder weapon, use of DNA and surveillance video as sources of new evidence.
Mr. Sorensen has been charged with first-degree murder and burglary, and his bail was set at $100,000, Mr. Horan said.
A court hearing today will determine whether Mr. Sorensen will receive a court-appointed lawyer.
He will be tried as an adult, but will not face the death penalty if convicted, because of his age at the time of the crime.
Mr. Sorensen retired from the Navy two years ago and indicated to authorities that he had been receiving a pension, Mr. Horan said.
Fairfax County authorities have continued to track the case these past 27 years.
"The list of retired detectives who have dealt with this case reads like a who's who," Mr. Horan said.


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