Army Veteran Kirby Archer Commits String of Crimes After Dishonorable Discharge Including Four Murders in an Attempt to Flee to Cuba (2007)

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Kirby Archer, US Army Veteran

Army veteran Kirby Archer and Guillermo Zarabozo offered to pay a Miami, Florida based charter company $4000 to take them to Bimini to meet up with their girlfriends. The Joe Cool agreed and the two headed out with Jake Branam, Kelley Branam, Scott Gamble, and Samuel Kairy. When they didn’t return home on Sunday, their families began to worry. They eventually contacted the United States Coast Guard for assistance with locating them. The USCG found the boat off the coast of Cuba, 140 miles off course. They also found two survivors: Archer and Zarabozo. The two claimed to be victims of crimes. They said the boat had been hijacked and the other four were shot. They claimed their lives were spared because they knew Spanish and were asked to drive the boat until it ran out of gas. Both the USCG and the Federal Bureau of Investigation got involved with this case. They learned that Kirby Archer was dishonorably discharged from the Army after he went Absent Without Leave (AWOL). He was arrested for child sexual abuse and was on the run after stealing money from his place of employment. It is believed that he met Zarabozo at Guantanamo Bay where Archer was once assigned; Zarabozo was a child refugee. They made plans to flee to Cuba and used the Joe Cool to execute the plan. Both of them were arrested for lying to federal agents. After Zarabozo’s home was searched, they found shell casings that matched those found on the boat. They also observed that Zarabozo’s 9 mm was not in the case and unaccounted for. Both Archer and Zarabozo were charged with sixteen counts including four murders. There was no body and no murder weapons so it was considered a circumstantial case. The defendants turned on each other but the prosecutors were able to show how it took both men to commit the crimes against the four individuals on the boat. There were two guns used in the commission of the crimes, therefore both were involved. Archer and Zarabozo were sentenced to five consecutive life terms. The Joe Cool slip is empty to this day. Jake and Kelley Branam’s children are living with her sister in Washington.

Related Links:
Murder on the High Seas
U.S. Coast Guard Seeks Four Missing Boaters Headed for Bimini Islands
FBI Questions Wal-Mart Robbery Fugitive, Rescued Boater About Missing Crew
Yacht skipper’s family hopeful boaters still alive
2 accused of killing 4 people on boat plead not guilty
Kirby Archer Criminal Complaint
Guillermo Zarabozo Criminal Complant
Convicted ‘Joe Cool’ Boat Killer Gets Life in Prison
Defendant Reveals Grisly Details in ‘Joe Cool’ Boat Murder Case
Inmate Claims Suspect in 4 Killings Aboard Fishing Boat Admitted Role in Deaths
Jury Selection to Begin in ‘Joe Cool’ Boat Murder Case
Defendant: Partner shot crew
Man convicted in killings
Joe Cool Teen Killer Gets Five Life Terms Plus 85 Years
‘Joe Cool’ Killer Gets Life Sentences
Wikipedia: Kirby Logan Archer
Lost at Sea
Charley Project: Kelly Branam
Charley Project: Jake Branam
Charley Project: Scott Gamble
Murder in Paradise: Hook, Line and Murder (YouTube)
Fatal Encounters: Fatal Voyage (YouTube)
Murder on the High Seas: The True Story of the Joe Cool’s Tragic Final Voyage


The crew of a luxury charter yacht falls prey to a fugitive’s cold-blooded escape plan en route to Bimini, a remote Bahamian paradise in the Bermuda Triangle. -Discovery ID

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