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Conviction upheld in slaying of Don Aronow

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Old 12-08-2010, 11:26 AM
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Default Conviction upheld in slaying of Don Aronow

A Miami-Dade judge declined to throw out the conviction of Benjamin Kramer in the 1987 assassination of power boat mogul Don Aronow.

BY DAVID OVALLE
[email protected]

Benjamin Kramer, the flashy South Florida powerboat racer imprisoned for ordering the 1987 assassination of rival Don Aronow, remains a convicted killer Tuesday after a Miami-Dade judge refused to toss out his conviction.

Kramer pleaded no contest to manslaughter in 1996 and agreed to a 19-year sentence to run concurrent to a life federal prison term for marijuana smuggling.

In March, Kramer claimed prosecutors sent him to prison without ever telling his defense lawyers that the admitted triggerman had confessed that Colombians -- not Kramer -- had hired him to kill Aronow.

A millionaire powerboat builder, Aronow was gunned down in February 1987 outside his USA Racing office in the 3000 block of Northeast 188th Street.

Prosecutors asserted that Kramer ordered Aronow's assassination in a business dispute.

Bobby Young, a convicted killer, kidnapper and cocaine trafficker, admitted to authorities that he gunned down Aronow. He pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in 1995 and was sentenced to 19 years, but his plea deal did not require him to identify who had hired him for the hit.

Kramer's lawyers claimed that Young confessed in February 2009 -- shortly before he passed away in prison -- and told police and prosecutors about the so-called Colombian connection and that they kept the information from his defense team.

But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dava Tunis, after reviewing documents in the court file, agreed Tuesday that Kramer's previous defense attorneys had known that Young once claimed Colombians hired him. ``This is not newly discovered evidence,'' Tunis said.

Kramer claims he only took the manslaughter plea to get out of squalid conditions at Dade County Jail.

The state's original case against Kramer relied on testimony of two jailhouse informants and a disgraced lawyer who had learned of Kramer's involvement, as well as incriminating phone calls from Kramer recorded in federal prison.

Young was not listed as a state witness, and one of the lead Miami-Dade police detectives told The Miami Herald that the gunman never confessed to who hired him during debriefings.

Kramer is also notorious for his attempt to escape prison. In 1990, he tried fleeing the Federal Correctional Institution in South Miami-Dade in a helicopter, but failed when the chopper crashed.

Defense lawyers Kenneth Kukec and Benson Weintraub say that Kramer just wants to clear his name, and plans to appeal.

``This case continues to be a mystery,'' Kukec said after the hearing.


Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/12/0...#ixzz17XQbZDdJ
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:21 PM
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What's wild, is the fact Bobby Young only got a "2nd" degree murder conviction, when he admitted to being the lone gunman & shooting Aronow at near point blank. That would be 1st degree murder by definition, but I guess his plea deal gave him 2nd degree.

Obviously Kramer's drug conviction is the one that has him locked away with no hope of release, but man, that's pretty stiff!
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:44 PM
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I was convinced it was all Kramer until watching the video "Thunder Man" and now I wonder after it basically said it was Columbian drug runners that financed the hit. Same as Kramer is now claiming.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:34 PM
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The moral of the story?

CRIME DOES NOT PAY!
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:38 AM
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The moral of the story?

CRIME DOES NOT PAY!
or duck
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:50 AM
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I was convinced it was all Kramer until watching the video "Thunder Man" and now I wonder after it basically said it was Columbian drug runners that financed the hit. Same as Kramer is now claiming.
I watched that video too (not that well put together I might add), and it was blatently apparent the guy that put it together had an agenda, oh, and not to mention he's worked some deal to do a documentry on Kramer (conflict of interest maybe?).

Listen to the detectives that investigated the case. Listen to their WHOLE story, not just an edited version from "thunder man". They had no vested interest. Too much info points that Kramer was infact involved. Maybe it was Kramer's friends (from Columbia) AND Kramer but he was involved. Those taped phone recordings sealed his coffin. The fact Kramer had money in the bank (which is one of the commonly used reasoning why he wasn't involved) means nothing. The simple fact Kramer was pissed at Aronow for screwing him over (depending on how you look at it), was all this came down to.

Some want to believe he had nothing to do with it, but in fact...He did!

My only question is...Why does Kramer care if the murder charges get thrown out? Why all of a sudden?
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:03 AM
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I'm originally from Southern Illinois and keep up on the local news online and caught this story awhile back:http://mywabashvalley.com/fulltext?nxd_id=141165
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:06 AM
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My only question is...Why does Kramer care if the murder charges get thrown out? Why all of a sudden?

He's probably tired of reading the same Danielle Steel Romance books, and really tired of having to re-enact them after lights out.

Lot's of people in Ben's position come forward at various points in their sentences, to try to change the facts & evidence relating to their conviction. His attorney has probably told him that his drug conviction could get cut back at some point, if the "War on Drugs" current sentencing guidelines were to ever be re-examined. If so, then having a murder conviction tied to it would make it a tougher argument for his attorney. I'm sure when Bobby Young made his deathbed confession, they figured "why not".

I'm of the opinion that Kramer at least knew about the bounty on Aronows head beforehand, and I don't disagree that he could have had more involvement. If he were to somehow prove he didn't though, I don't think he should have to spend the rest of his life in prison for selling weed.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:20 AM
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He's probably tired of reading the same Danielle Steel Romance books, and really tired of having to re-enact them after lights out.

Lot's of people in Ben's position come forward at various points in their sentences, to try to change the facts & evidence relating to their conviction. His attorney has probably told him that his drug conviction could get cut back at some point, if the "War on Drugs" current sentencing guidelines were to ever be re-examined. If so, then having a murder conviction tied to it would make it a tougher argument for his attorney. I'm sure when Bobby Young made his deathbed confession, they figured "why not".

I'm of the opinion that Kramer at least knew about the bounty on Aronows head beforehand, and I don't disagree that he could have had more involvement. If he were to somehow prove he didn't though, I don't think he should have to spend the rest of his life in prison for selling weed.
Kind've what I was thinking too. Especially with the relaxed atmosphere regarding MJ over the past few years. It's basically legal in Ca. and will be legitemately legal here with in the next few years if they ever write the law properly. Once one state legalizes it, it's only a matter of time before most others do and the federal law is overturned. I would highly expect those like Kramer that are doing life for MJ sales/transportation to easily get released w/time served at that point. So yea, having a murder charge would kind'a hamper that.
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:33 PM
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Its what they could stick him with, they know he did much worse but could only convict on the weed so they nailed him on that.
If he really was a good guy that just happened to like weed and sold it I highly doubt they would have given him life.
He was a scumbag and they finally were able to nail him even if it was "just" for weed.
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