Free Krishna Maharaj.
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Convicted of a murder that was almost certainly carried out by the Medellín drug cartel, 75 year old Krishna Maharaj is the victim of poor representation and prosecution misconduct.
Kris was born in Trinidad when it was in British possession and has been a British citizen all his life. In 1987, Kris was convicted of the murders of Derrick and Duane Moo Young in Miami, Florida, and was sentenced to death.
Kris has always maintained his innocence. He has six alibi witnesses all of whom place him more than 30 miles away at the time of the murder, but none of whom were called to testify at his trial. The original trial judge was led away in handcuffs for taking bribes in another case, and the new judge ordered the death penalty to be drawn up even before a verdict of guilt had been given.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the victims had been laundering money in the Caribbean (to the tune of $5billion), and that the murders were carried out by the Medellín drug cartel.
Reprieve has achieved partial success in Kris’s case - but it was a bittersweet victory. In 2002, due to the violations in due process at his trial, his death sentence was quashed; but instead of being released, he was resentenced to life imprisonment. Kris is now 75 years old.
There is overwhelming evidence of Kris’s innocence and Reprieve continues to work to have him exonerated. Despite the rejection of attempts to secure a retrial in 2006, in December 2012, Reprieve counsel Clive Stafford Smith – working with Florida co-counsel Ben Kuehne and Susan Dmitrovsky – filed a further challenge to Kris’s convictions.
Utilising the fruits of ongoing investigations, this challenge builds on the revelations in Stafford Smith’s recent book Injustice, and reveals a slew of additional evidence displaying Kris’s innocence.
Highlights of the new evidence include:
Admissions by former cartel members that they and not Kris Maharaj were responsible for the murders;
admissions by former Miami police and those closely associated with law enforcement that they framed Maharaj and had a deal to help cover up Colombian cartel murders;
proof that the only other occupied room on the 12th floor on the day of the murders – Room 1214 directly opposite the murder scene – was occupied by one Jaime Vallejo Mejia, a Colombian then wanted for his involvement in a cartel laundering case involving $40 million in cash. Mejia was deported to his native country where there is further proof of his drug associations;
evidence that Tino Geddes, the witness who changed from alibi to incrimination, did so because he had been linked for years with the Shower Posse, the main drug cartel in Jamaica, closely associated with the Colombians;
documents that show how ‘eyewitness’ Neville Butler was himself involved in the murders, failed a lie detector test, and has – on a number of other occasions – committed perjury in court to promote his own interests.
All of this comes on top of Kris’s six alibi witnesses and overwhelming evidence concerning the Moo Youngs' own role in laundering drug money.
On April 24th 2014, Judge William Thomas in Miami granted Kris a full Evidentiary Hearing on the strength of this evidence. A date has yet to be set for the hearing, but it represents the biggest step towards Kris' exoneration since his conviction in 1987.
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