Murder on the High Seas: The True Story of the Joe Coors Tragic Final Voyage
By Carol Soret Cope
Best-selling author and lawyer Carol Soret Cope's newest book captures the unique flavor of practice in south Florida. Ironically, much of the story unfolds in a federal court building designed to look like a boat.
On a routine patrol, a Coast Guard cutter spotted a "ghost ship" drifting north of Cuba. No one was on board the luxury sport fishing boat, which was out of fuel, its deck spattered with blood.
The next morning a helicopter crew found Kirby Archer and Guillermo Zarabozo floating on a life raft. They told a horrific tale of pirates attacking the boat, killing the young Captain Jake Baman, his wife Kelley, brother Scott Gamble, and best friend, Sammy Kairy. Somehow Archer and Zarabozo had managed to escape.
As the FBI investigated, however, a much different reality emerged. In the trials that followed, prosecutors argued that the captain and crew had indeed been hijacked ... by their own charter passengers, Archer and Zarabozo.
As Ms. Cope covered the two murder trials in federal court, she gained the trust of family members whose loved ones had been so coldly executed. This is reflected in her cautionary tale of the nearly three-year custody battle for the two children left behind by Jake and Kelley, who did not have wills.
Although Ms. Cope's first editor advised her to cut "all that boring law stuff," the story and characters are compelling enough that the behind-the-scenes legal insights will intrigue nonlawyers and lawyers alike. Among the legal "stuff," Ms. Cope describes what goes on in the few federal cases where the death penalty is on the table. Federal capital cases...