Thursday, May 7, 2009

Guillermo Zarabozo Gets 5 Life Sentences

CNN reports on the final chapter in the sordid story of Hialeah security guard, Guillermo Zarabozo who was sentenced to 5 life sentences plus 85 years for his part in the "Joe Cool" killings.

A jury convicted Guillermo Zarabozo of kidnapping and murder, among other charges, in connection with the killings of four people aboard the "Joe Cool" charter boat in September 2007.

The former Hialeah security guard was 19 years old when he and Arkansas fugitive Kirby Archer chartered the Joe Cool off Miami Beach for a purported trip to Bimini. Instead, prosecutors said, they hijacked the boat and killed the crewmembers, including Capt. Jake Branam, his wife, Kelly, crew member Scott Campbell and Capt. Samuel Kairy. Zarabozo maintained his innocence until the end, saying that Archer, who already is serving a life sentence for the crime, was the only killer and duped him into the trip and the killings.

The local news video contained in the CNN report included some interesting observations of what took place in the courtroom. According to the reporter there was no remorse on the part of Zarabozo and no forgiveness on the part of the family of the victims. We often see this in death penalty cases, a thirst for vengeance which they usually describe as "justice." In this case it was typically expressed by one of the family members who said to Zarabozo, "I hope you live a long time, and suffer."

For Mr. Zarabozo's part, I'm not sure what they expected from him. He claimed to be an innocent victim of Kirby Archer who supposedly duped him into doing the crime. Nevertheless, he did have this to say:

"I'm really sorry for the loss of your family members," Zarabozo said in court. "But I had nothing to do with it. When I got on that boat, I didn't know what Archer was going to do. I'm a victim of Archer, too."

Perhaps it's not possible to express remorse if you claim to be innocent. I thought what he said was at least something, though. What do you think?

One element of the story I hadn't noticed before was the fact that at 19 years of age, Zarabozo was a "former security guard" who owned a gun, which ended up being the murder weapon. Is that legal? Can a person under 21 be an armed security guard and own the weapon?

What's your opinion? Was justice served in this case? The grandfather of one of the victims said that young Guillermo was on his way to becoming a hardened criminal and it's better that he spend his life behind bars. Do you agree with that?

Please leave a comment.

21 comments:

  1. I doubt he was officially an armed guard--there are usually licensing requirements. More than likely he was just a low-level rent-a-cop.

    While it is possible that he owned the handgun legally, it isn't likely. Federal law prevents the sale of handguns by dealers to those under 18. In a few states he would be allowed to buy it in a private sale, in others his guardian would be allowed to give it to him.

    Bringing the gun with him makes it difficult to believe he was duped. It is pretty obvious he had something illicit or downright illegal. Because of that, he shares responsibility.

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  2. We know for certain- 6 people left, 2 returned Zarabozo was video taped beside Archer purchasing the a gun, bullets and hand cuffs.The boxes for the gun & cuffs were under his bed-the same type of gun casings cuff keys found on the boat (blood included) Z.had spoken in online chat to two people that something was going to happen that he would be listed as a "missing person." He confessed to an informant when initially detained. After all his stories, he came down to being in the bathroom. He heard shots and peered out. When he saw one of the victims running for the door he slammed it.
    According to their conflicting stories either Jake or Kelley were still alive when they were placed into the water. They had a second choice not to kill my friends, but they did.
    ***Unlike the family that appeared in court not all of us wish additional suffering to Archer or Zarabozo. Their suffering does me no good. In fact, I'm numb to it. It doesn't give our loved ones back or bring any comfort. I think that we as a society do not know how to approach crimes/criminals like this and we do all we can do- lock them together.
    Zarabozo knew what he was doing. You don't bring a real gun and real bullets unless you're planning to shoot something even if it is plan B- it NEVER should have been an option. It should never have been decided that this was somehow the answer to his life problems.
    If he'd have completed the escape plan, we'd have no answers to the murdered loved ones we all lost that day and prayed every moment they were found safe for so long- that was the worst of it all for me the coast guard search.
    Honesty, I feel the families of the convicted are almost equally victims, but really they do still have their loved ones.

    There is no "justice" in this case - even though we won, everyone lost.

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  3. I know I keep asking for it when I defend criminals, but I had a bit more sympathy for his story. To me it was conceivable that the older and slicker Kirby Archer duped Guillermo, enticing him with tales of future CIA work and playing the role of the clandestine operative. I wouldn't have minded seeing Zarabozo get 10 years and Archer alone taking the weight for the murders.

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  4. Dear A, Thanks so much for your comment. It moved me. The deep sadness in your description was palpable.

    Please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss. And please also accept my strongest admiration for your lack of vengeance-seeking. As you said, "everyone lost."

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  5. I know Archer personally and do believe he was the mastermind behind the murders,but when the were rescued Zarabozo should have came clean with the truth if he was innocent. Archer has a way with hurting everyone he comes in contact with. He has hurt his own children both emotinally and sexually too bad he didn't get the death penalty.

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  6. I knew Guillermo personally, we attended high school together. He was in the JROTC and had a promising future. Popular, funny and sweet guy, dated the same girl (a model) for years. He was even in the national honors society. I understand and do not argue that he was involved and knew something was up but I'm sure he had nothing to do with the killings and that Archer somehow manipulated him into being there and helping him. If I ever imagined seeing Guillermo on TV, I would have bet it was for something honorable.

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  7. Anonymous, Thanks for you comment. Please feel free to add whatever you'd like.

    I have to say, in the pictures I've seen of your school mate, he didn't appear all that intelligent. And his having been duped by Archer, which I don't doubt, supports that.

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  8. First and foremost, I personally knew Zarabozo. And he was practically retarted. Did he shoot those people I couldn't say. But I will say he deserves what he got! And that other tool should have been put down like a dog! Because of those two pathetic excuses of human beings all those family members had to suffer, and maybe are still suffering! ZaraBOZO should have been smart enough to realize what the "plan" was. And if he was innocent, he would have spilled every last detail to the police from the beginning. From the little time knowing him, I honestly didn't think he of all people could do something like this, but if he is innocent, at least theres one less mindless drone off the streets. To the family and friends of the victims I give my condolences.

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  9. Condolences to the families of the victims. Amen to that.

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  10. Some background on Kirby and Guillermo. According to the site below, they met in Guantanmo Bay when Guillermo was an 8 year old refugee.

    http://veach-glines.blogspot.com/2009/08/kirby-archer-infamous-friend.html

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  11. I also knew guillermo and as much as it hurts to hear and read what people write about him brings me to tears he as always and will always be a good person and i know that he didnt kill anyone maybe he knew but was afraid like any other human, i do believe that the truth will come and he will be free and his name will be cleared. I dont think anyone should be judge because no one was there to actually point fingers and accuse someone of something because just as our system is corrupted so have the people in it .. I love my friend guillermo i love him to death and i will always believe in him. I do also send my regards to the family of those lost ..

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  12. con mucho respeto ,les quiero aclaral que guillermo jamas estuvo en la base de guantanamo ? el vino con su mama su hermanita chiquita y su padrasto con visa de loteria , en ese entonces tenia 9 anos y como biem comentaron era y es un muchacho de muchos principios , carinoso , bueno de clases de honores, que jamas le haria dano a nadie , como bien comentaron y pienso igual si le huvieran puesto 10 anos por estar en le lugar de los echos ok ? pero que se mancho sus manos para hacerle dano a alguien nunca ,jamas , yo siempre fui honesta ? que pagara por no haverce hido a tienpo y estar en el lugar equivocado , tarvez porque tuvo temor como cuarquier ser humano ono supo en ese momento k hacer lo k si les puedo hacegural k fue manipulado 100 por ciento, por ese malebolo hombre que entrava al tribunar riendose , guillermo no mostraba nada pues es estaba y esta convencido que algun dia su nombre sera limpiado y sera libre pues el no tuvo nada que ver con la muerte de esas 4 personas inocententes, y el le dijo a los familiares que sentia mucho dolor por sus seres perdidos pero que el no tuvo nada que ver con sus muertes , que lo sentia mucho que la familia de ellos se havia destruido , pero que su vida y la familia de el tambien se habian destruido , yo estoy segura de que la verdad saldra, y veran que lo k el ha estado diciendo que es INOCENTE , lo van a comprovar , como siempre dije tienen al culpable delante y saben quien es , pero es que los fiscales nunca pierden, a las buenas o a las malas ellos siempre ganan ? a no ser que uno pueda pagar un buen abogado , pues los abogados de oficio son buenos abogados , lo unico que se tienen que callar cuando ellos quieren , cosa que no pueden hacer con uno privado , desgraciadamente la familia de guillermo no pudo pagarle un abogado , pero yo digo mas inmenso que dios no hay nada y ese es el unico jues y abogado k lo puede todo ???? y les doy mis mas sentido pesame y condolencia a la familia de los seres perdidos y reso por su descanso , pero esos seres que murieron inocentemente los angeles de ellos saben que guillermo zarabozo , no les hizo dano ,, y espero que un dia se haga justicia con ese muchacho que fue enganado por un sicopata sin sentimiento, que destrullo dos familias , solo espero si le queda alguna conciencia que lo dudo no lo deje nunca dormir en paz ni vivir tranquilo , no le deceo nada bueno , pues lo que le hizo fue macabro , mis pesame de corazon a la familia ,,, AMEN,,,,,,

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  13. Dude, save your sympathy for the victims and their families. Spare me this "poor Zarabozo" routine. You don't pack a ton of ammo and gun just for kicks and giggles. Then you have the audacity to take a jab at the families for your perceived "thirst for vengeance." Easy for you to say. How many family members have you lost to violent crimes? As far a Zarabozo goes, you hang out with dogs you are going to get fleas. He we was Kirby's partner and helped create the situation. He deserves to go down. I couldn't care less if he never again sees the light of day.

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  14. Hi i knew Guille for a few months me and him date and he was a very caring loving and amazing boyfriend and friend he had hight hopes for his future and he would have never gone into that boat if he knew what the out come was going to be I believe 100 % in his innocence and please leave him out of any horrible comments i undertand lives where lost but his life is being lost too behing bars where he doenst deserve to be.

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  15. Anomymous
    I feel for the families of the victims. As the mother of a 19 year old male I also feel for Guillermo who like many youngsters his age wanted a bright future for himself but who at such a young and critical age fell under the manipulative, machiavelic influence of a sick person:He was not from that world and he might have made some mistakes but it seems obvious from his background that he was not a cold blooded murderer...which calls for leniency!

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  16. Every Cuban knows that inflitrating into Cuba and carrying out subversive actions is not easy if not impossible.The Cuban government is unable to provide any staple item to the people, however they will go the extra mile to keep their coasts protected. What I am trying to say is that Zarabozo would have probably heard from the Cuban community about these facts, thus is he really retarded or he knowingly did what Mr. Kirby asked him to do and then he is involved.

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  17. First of i would like to give my regards to the family of those lost .. and finally i would like to say that i strongly believe that guillermo was set up by this guy archer. guillermo just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. archer had this planned all along and if it wasnt guillermo he would of probably used somebody else. and as said before the truth should be reveal sooner or later. god can only be the judge here he sees and knows all so just waiting to see what happens.

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  18. BEWARE THE BEAST MAN

    You can always avoid danger if you presume the worst of your fellow man and take the necessary precautions. Why assume complete strangers are not a threat.

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  19. In my opinion I knew guile almost my whole life cause my parent used to be together.He was a great guy i even consider him as a brother. All I know is that he wanted to live life and become whatever he wanted. It still hurts on how they say he killed those people but i know that he didnt. I hope he good.......

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  20. I knew Gillermo in the federal building downtown, we were on the same floor and often talked because we were working out together, the blows of life taught me to identify people at a glance and I realized that he is a wonderful boy,quiet,you'll note the nobility in his eyes,I dare to say that he feared the man who manipulated to ride on that boat,on one occasion he confessed to me "that guy fucked up my life,to know that going to happen I had not pass up on that boat"I am musician and showed him the pictures of the show I was doing before falling in prison and it showed to the surface that before entering the federal building,he was a boy cheerful,good-hearted,before knowing his case i never thought he is in jail for murder,I thought it was by medicare or credit cards,maybe drugs,but not for murder,then people told me everything after,even so in the gym,he looked calm,confident that nothing would happen,it would be acquitted,when a person is confident that he is innocent,that is perceived,after also knew guillermo family is good family and that he had no need kill any one,a young man who grew up in this country with good education,a good job,you need not go to Cuba,a young that the only way to get on a boat is that you hide what is going to happen,and after the fact is obious that is involved in the crime because they are at sea and if you dont helps lay the bodies in the water,he knows that it will make the guy fired him like the others,it is hard what both families are living,but understand that when you stand in front of a murderer who has a gun,you're in a very uncomfortable position to decide what to do with your life
    my condolences to the family of the victims,may they rest in peace

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