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Conviction in charter boat homicides

Guillermo Zarabozo, 20, of Hialeah, Fla., was convicted Tuesday of providing the gun used to kill four people in the Joe Cool murder case by a Miami federal jury and could face life in prison, according to The New York Times. Twelve other charges, including kidnapping and first-degree murder, ended in a mistrial.

Zarabozo, a former security guard, was on trial for the deaths of four crewmembers aboard the 47-foot sportfishing charter vessel named Joe Cool — its captain Jake Branam, 27; his wife Kelley, 30; Scott Gamble, 35; and Samuel Kairy, 27. Prosecutors say Zarabozo and Kirby Archer, 36, chartered the vessel last year under the guise of a fishing trip to the Bahamas, but intended all along to hijack the vessel to Cuba, according to the Miami Herald. The bodies of the victims were allegedly dumped overboard and never recovered.

The relatives of some of the victims were present for Zarabozo’s verdict and refused to comment. The jury had been in deliberation for five days prior and had announced themselves deadlocked Monday. The decision was made Tuesday due to a certain amount of prodding on the part of U.S. District Judge Paul Huck, according to the Herald report.

Archer, who took control of Joe Cool to avoid arrest after the theft of $92,000 from the Wal-Mart he worked in, as well as child sexual abuse charges in Arkansas, pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

— Elizabeth Ellis