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.