Connect with us

World

Phuket Gazette World News: Briton jailed 27 years for Florida murders seeks to reopen case

Published

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Briton jailed 27 years for Fla. murders seeks to reopen case
Reuters / Phuket Gazette
PHUKET: Lawyers for a British man convicted in Florida for a 1986 double homicide sought to reopen the case on Tuesday, claiming that three Colombian drug traffickers were the real killers.

Krishna Maharaj’s lawyers have contended for years that Colombian cartels were responsible for the shooting deaths of Derrick and Duane Moo Young, but the defence motion filed in state court represents the first time the lawyers were specific in their allegations.

Maharaj, 74, was convicted in 1987 in the deaths of the father and son in a downtown Miami hotel suite. He spent a decade on death row before his sentence was commuted to two life sentences in 1997.

Lawyers for Maharaj mounted a private investigation in Colombia that they say resulted in three Colombian drug traffickers coming forward to claim the killings were done “at the behest of Pablo Escobar,” the former head of the Medellin cartel gunned down by police in 1993.

“Krishna Maharaj was not involved in the murder of the Moo Youngs, and they had to be eliminated because they had lost Colombian drug money,” according to one of the drug traffickers quoted in the defence motion.

The lawyers wrote that the killings were carried out by Escobar hit man Manuel Zuluaga, also known as “Cuchilla” (the Blade); Jaime Vallejo Mejia, a convicted cartel money launderer; and cartel hit man Jhon Henry ‘El Chino” Rodriguez.

Zuluaga was killed in 1993, and Reuters was not immediately able to locate Vallejo Mejia and Rodriguez or obtain comment from their attorneys.

Assistant State Attorney Penny Brill said “there is nothing in the (new) motion besides hearsay and inadmissible evidence.”

The lawyers had previously submitted fingerprints for the three Colombians to the state attorney’s office for comparison with 19 unmatched fingerprints found at the crime scene.

A preliminary government analysis of the fingerprints indicated they were not of sufficient quality to be compared with the unmatched prints, Brill told the court.

Judge William Thomas said he would hold a hearing next week on whether he has the authority to order the state to give the defence access to the unmatched prints for analysis.

Under Florida law, overturning a jury’s verdict, especially after so many years, requires an exceptionally high standard of evidence. The Miami-Dade County prosecutor’s office has said it stands by the handling of Maharaj’s case.

Maharaj’s lawyers claim that the Moo Youngs were killed after seeking to pay a drug debt with a forged letter of credit that was found at the crime scene, but not disclosed to the defence until well after Maharaj’s conviction.

Maharaj and the Moo Youngs were former business partners and neighbors, both with roots in the Caribbean. Maharaj hails from an elite Trinidadian-Indian family while the Moo Youngs, who are of Chinese descent, is from Jamaica. Before he moved to Florida in the 1980s, Maharaj lived in London.

The two families fell out after Maharaj accused Derrick Moo Young of cheating him out of $400,000. Prosecutors cited that at trial as the motive for the murders.

Maharaj’s fingerprints were found in the room where the shootings took place, but he said he left the room before the Moo Youngs arrived.

One of the Colombians named by the lawyers, Vallejo Mejia, was staying in a room opposite the Moo Youngs at the time of the shootings. He was briefly interviewed by police, and was later convicted in a separate money-laundering case.

The case has drawn significant media attention, with a book written by one of Maharaj’s lawyers, Clive Stafford Smith, and several TV documentaries in the works.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Tourism3 mins ago

Tourism fee to go to Cabinet to enact or delay

Events3 mins ago

John Cena breaks world record for most wishes granted in foundation

Chiang Mai7 mins ago

Popular Chiang Mai waterfall closed due to flooding

Sponsored1 day ago

Starting a business and obtaining SMART Visa in Thailand is easy with Startup Booster

Hot News29 mins ago

WTO chief says world economy tipping towards recession

Cannabis News54 mins ago

Embassy warns citizens not to take cannabis from Thailand into Malaysia

World58 mins ago

NASA crashes DART spacecraft into distant asteroid

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Hot News59 mins ago

Thailand’s northeast braced as Typhoon Noru slams Vietnam

Thailand1 hour ago

Canadian gangster in Phuket killing faces death penalty in Thailand

Thailand2 hours ago

Amid flu fears, Thailand destroys 24 tonnes of smuggled pork

Thailand2 hours ago

Knife-wielding tuk tuk driver says he is the victim in brawl over passengers

Thailand2 hours ago

VIDEO: Nine cars in three days fly off ‘cursed’ road in eastern Thailand

Chon Buri2 hours ago

Crocodile found skinned on Chon Buri beach

Thailand3 hours ago

Politicians urged to wear Thai suits to save energy

Economy3 hours ago

Thai baht plunges to 38 against US dollar for first time in 16 years

Thailand4 hours ago

Naga Fireball Festival is coming to Isaan on October 10

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending