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Inmate: Man Confessed Role In 'Ghost Ship' Murders

Old 12-20-2007, 05:23 PM
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Default Inmate: Man Confessed Role In 'Ghost Ship' Murders

MIAMI (CBS) ― A federal jail inmate in Miami has claimed that one of the suspects accused in the killings of four people aboard the "Joe Cool" charter fishing boat admitted his role in the shooting deaths.

The inmate claims Guillermo Zarabozo said he didn't pull the trigger, but helped clean up the crime scene. The unidentified inmate's statement is included in court documents that were unsealed Wednesday.

The inmate says Zarabozo told him in a jailhouse conversation that co-defendant Kirby Archer fatally shot the captain of the 47-foot "Joe Cool" along with the captain's wife and two crew members in September.

The informant also says Zarabozo told him the four people were killed because they refused to take the men to Cuba instead of the originally agreed-upon destination of Bimini, Bahamas. According to the court documents, Zarabozo said the pair wanted to reach Cuba because the Caribbean island doesn't grant extraditions to the United States. Zarabozo also supposedly said he threw the bodies into the ocean and cleaned up the boat.

The inmate claims he was in the cell next to Zarabozo at the Miami Federal Detention Center. Defense attorneys question whether the government intentionally assigned a known informant to the cell next to Zarabozo. Archer's attorney says the inmate is -- quote -- "making up a story."

Zarabozo and Archer could face the death penalty if convicted of federal charges including murder, kidnapping and seizing control of a ship by force. They have pleaded not guilty and claim that the four people were killed by Cuban pirates who attacked the boat at sea.

Their lawyers say prosecutors have no evidence to tie their clients to the crime. Prosecutors argue there's enough circumstantial evidence against the pair, even though no bodies or a murder weapon have been recovered.

In October, U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta announced that Zarabozo and Archer were charged with the first-degree murder.

The murder charges were filed without bodies, guns, witnesses or confessions but prosecutors believe there is enough circumstantial evidence to prove that the crew of the 'Joe Cool' was killed at sea and their bodies dumped overboard by the two men.

U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta said, "it's unlikely we'll find the bodies of these four individuals who were murdered at sea."

The four disappeared at sea after Zarabozo and Archer paid $4-thousand to charter the "Joe Cool' to Bimini on September 22nd. The next day, the Coast Guard found the boat, abandoned and adrift 30 miles from Cuba.

The defendants were found in a life raft a few miles away. They claimed that pirate hijackers came aboard the 'Joe Cool' and killed the crew and threw their bodies overboard. They also claim a third boat picked up the hijackers who left the defendants in the life raft.

Acosta said their story is full of inconsistencies and each suspect gave different accounts about events that unfolded on the boat including what the hijackers were wearing, where the murders took place and even how they survived.

FBI investigators found four bullet casings on the boat from a 9mm Glock handgun. They also found receipts in Zarabozo's apartment for a Glock 9mm magazine and four boxes of 9mm bullets purchased from Lou's Gun Shop and Police Supply in Hialeah. The spent shell casings were the same size and brand purchased by Zarabozo.

Archer was originally being held for fleeing to avoid prosecution in Arkansas, where he allegedly stole $92,000 from the Wal-Mart where he worked until January.

Zarabozo, who lived in his mother's apartment in Hialeah, was being held on charges he lied to federal investigators when, under questioning, he failed to recognize the Joe Cool.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:26 PM
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...if the liberals will let us!
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:40 PM
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I was just thinking about this story the other day........I was wondering if we would ever find out what really happend. I was reading about the Natalie Halloway case, they closed the case due to lack of evidence. It made me think about the Joe Cool tragedy.
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Semper Fi View Post
..... I was reading about the Natalie Halloway case, they closed the case due to lack of evidence. .......

Can't imagine what her parents are going thru after this latest announcement.
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Old 12-21-2007, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveP View Post
...if the liberals will let us!
Dave....that will never should know better, they just repelled the death sentence in your state....NOW all those easy made and paid taxes in your state will go to keep all those NICE criminals in pool tables, computers, wide screen HD TV's and all the other toys they demand
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