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Old 09-27-2007, 12:35 PM
  #51
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Originally Posted by cbeastwood View Post
What I could see happening is one of them is going to roll on the other one when the Feds start putting real pressure on them.
I think it's already happening. The 19yo is gonna roll on the Archer dude. The story sounds completely likely, minus the pirates. I am guessing Archer shot the captain while trying to commandeer the boat. Then the hysterical wife, and so on like the statement reads. No pirates, just 2 losers that need to go quick and not drain the states with a trial and prison. Maritime crime ellicits a maritime punishment. Walk the plank with a little blood thrown in....
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Old 09-30-2007, 02:24 AM
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Do you have a link to thier statements?
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by PICKLES View Post
Don't know much about this story could it have anything to do with drug deal gone bad?
If you don't know anything about the story, then why don't you read all of the posted links, inform YOURSELF about this tragic event, and DON"T make unfounded tabloid like accusations......
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Old 09-30-2007, 09:54 AM
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Read the links, it's a family owned boat.
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Old 09-30-2007, 10:01 AM
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Read the links, it's a family owned boat.
and the Capt lived in a family owned house probably worth over 10 million so he was just trying to make a living doing what he wants (fishing).
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Old 09-30-2007, 10:02 AM
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Pickles, as BL said, it is a family owwned boat. The son, a son in law and cousin ran it. The family owns a large company here in town, and does very well for it's self. If you read the links, most of this is discussed..

Sad state of affairs for the family. A simple charter has turned into the loss of family members, and the orphaning of two children.
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Old 09-30-2007, 02:31 PM
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Ant NEW news?
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Old 09-30-2007, 04:58 PM
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Ant NEW news?
Unfortunately the search has been called off and now the relatives are fighting over the children that were orphanned.
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Old 09-30-2007, 06:50 PM
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This sucks..

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Originally Posted by miamuh fishwrapper

http://www.miamiherald.com/457/story/255450.html

Boating cases poses uphill legal battle

Authorities face daunting challenges building a potential homicide case against two men arrested after chartering a Miami Beach boat whose crew disappeared at sea.

Posted on Sun, Sep. 30, 2007
BY CURTIS MORGAN AND JAY WEAVER
[email protected]

Amie Gamble yearns for the truth -- no matter how awful -- from the two men she believes know what happened to her two brothers, her sister-in-law and a friend, all of whom are missing and presumed dead after their Miami Beach charter boat was found abandoned in the Atlantic Ocean. ''It's more than crucifying these two,'' said Gamble, voice cracking. ``It's closure for the family. At least we'd know, if these people would just admit it. They're not going anywhere for a long time. Just admit it . . . so the family can move on.''

Federal prosecutors, building a homicide case against the two men, hope for confessions, too. Without one, without the victims' bodies and without compelling physical evidence, authorities face major challenges in bringing possible murder charges against Kirby Archer and Guillermo Zarabozo, who paid $4,000 cash to charter the boat on Sept. 22 for an ill-fated one-way trip to Bimini.

''To the average Joe Public, the case circumstantially appears to be highly suspicious and most people would say they must have done it,'' said Bill Matthewman, a prominent criminal defense lawyer.

``But from the point of view of the court of law, the case doesn't meet the standards of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not a slam dunk case.''

Archer, 35, an Arkansas fugitive, and Zarabozo, a 19-year-old security guard from Hialeah, are the sole survivors of the bizarre mystery at sea. They remain in federal custody, facing a bond hearing Tuesday. Their courtappointed attorneys declined comment.

It was Monday morning when a Coast Guard helicopter hoisted the pair from an orange life raft 12 miles north of the abandoned 47-foot sportfishing boat, Joe Cool. The previous day, a Coast Guard cutter had discovered it adrift about 11 miles southwest of Cay Sal Bank, Bahamas, and about 40 miles north of Cuba.

NO SIGNS

A five-day search yielded no signs of the crew. Now feared dead: Capt. Jake Branam, 27; his wife, Kelley Branam, 30; Branam's half-brother Scott Gamble, 35; and first mate Samuel Kairy, 27, all Miami Beach residents.

Both suspects have given lengthy statements to authorities, though only sketchy details were in a federal criminal complaint. The most explosive: Zarabozo claims mysterious hijackers stormed the chartered boat, fatally shot the four crew members and then spared his life because he agreed to dump their bodies overboard. But -- for reasons not explained in court documents -- the hijackers allowed him and his buddy to escape with luggage, personal effects and $2,200 cash in a life raft.

Prosecutors don't buy Zarabozo's story. They also point out that the crew issued no radio transmissions or Mayday signals about the supposed assault -- standard procedure for any captain -- in an area regularly traveled by many other boats and ships. There were no scratches or marks on the Joe Cool from a boarding vessel. Expensive electronics and gear aboard were left untouched.

Among other inconsistencies and suspicious behavior outlined in court documents:

• The men booked the boat under a ruse: They claimed to be surveyors taking a trip to rendezvous with girlfriends aboard a yacht in Bimini. No girlfriends have come forward.

• Archer, on the lam since January on charges of stealing $92,000 from an Arkansas Wal-Mart and facing allegations of sexually molesting children, had motivation to flee the country.

• Zarabozo described the hijacking and then later, when asked to identify the Joe Cool, he baffled investigators by saying he did not recognize the boat and had never been aboard it. That led to the federal charge of making a false statement.

Still, proving murder on the high seas appears to be a high hurdle without victims' bodies, weapons or anything tangible linking the two men to the suspected killings. To be sure, it's not unprecedented to win such a case on circumstantial evidence.

Two years ago, Michael Koblan of New Jersey was convicted of killing his brother-in-law in a boat off Palm Beach County in 1998 -- though the body was never recovered after being dumped in the Atlantic Ocean. He claimed he was in New Jersey at the time his brother-in-law, Christopher Benedetto of Singer Island, disappeared.

But federal prosecutors, who took over the case from state authorities, didn't believe Koblan. They also contended he had a motive: He owed his brother-in-law about $100,000 on a loan for a trucking business.

At trial, prosecutors argued that Koblan slipped into Palm Beach County under an alias, lured his brother-in-law on a fishing trip and murdered him on the boat. Koblan then returned to Benedetto's home and strangled his wife, Janette Piro, to silence a witness. Piro -- the sister of Koblan's wife -- was found crammed in her own freezer.

To win a conviction, assistant U.S. Attorney John Kastrenakes zeroed in on Koblan's use of a car during his visit. He also had the benefit of a witness who heard the two men's voices before they departed on their fishing trip and who then saw only Koblan return.

In the charter boat case, federal investigators have gathered physical evidence from the vessel, which was towed to the Coast Guard station on Miami Beach. FBI agents seized a computer and other items from Zarabozo's Hialeah home, hunting for some clues the pair may have planned their own hijacking. Their probable destination -- Cuba, where Archer once served as a military policeman at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base.

But their mere presence on the boat may not be enough to implicate them in a possible multiple homicide -- even if human blood stains are found aboard the vessel, said veteran defense lawyer Jeanne Baker.

''Without the bodies, I don't know what the DNA evidence on the boat would prove,'' Baker said. ``The DNA tells that a person may be present on a boat, but it doesn't tell secrets. It doesn't have eyes and ears and a memory.''

LIKELY STRATEGY

Both Baker and Matthewman said that prosecutors will try to play one suspect against the other. In this case, their likely strategy would be to pressure Zarabozo to turn on the older Archer.

But both said prosecutors have to tread carefully.

''The government's typical game plan, if they don't have evidence to charge either, is to try to flip one against the other,'' Matthewman said, speaking hypothetically. ``The problem with that, if the government acts in haste, the actual person who did the killing could flip and say the other guy did it.''

Whatever the legal complexities, people who fish or patrol the waters of the Florida Straits express doubts about the hijack story.

''In my 20 years, I've never heard of any private vessel being involved in an act of armed high-seas piracy off the coast of Florida,'' said Zachary Mann, senior special agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Miami, which monitors the Straits.

And myriad boaters and fishing captains have pointed out that the story defies an inescapable fact of the Gulf Stream: It flows north, about 4 mph on average.

If hijackers killed the crew as they crossed to Bimini, current would have carried the boat northward. Instead, the abandoned boat, and the survivors in a life raft, wound up nearly 100 miles in the opposite direction -- closer to Cuba.

Then, said Dean Panos, a veteran charter captain who runs the Double D out of the Keystone Point Marina in North Miami, there's the question of what hijackers were after. Agents seized a wad of cash from Archer.

''They walked away with $2,200 in their pockets,'' Panos said. ``Don't you think the hijackers would have maybe wanted that?''

For Amie Gamble, Scott Gamble's sister and Jake Branam's half-sister, what she doesn't know haunts her. She wants the grim details -- why, when, where, in what order. She hopes the cold reality would at least start to heal her family's wounds.

``We're all grasping on to false little hopes that they may have clung on to a plank or a piece of plywood or something. I'm physically and emotionally drained. We need something. We don't even have bodies to bury.''
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Old 09-30-2007, 07:02 PM
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This sucks..
Unbelievable...
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