tv Death Row Stories CNN February 8, 2015 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
premise that one person wrongfully convicted is a grave injustice. >> i don't know what the outcome of this is going to be. but this is a good case. >> i knew we were right. >> i think it's a good system. on this episode of "death row stories" a millionaire is accused of brutal murders in a downtown miami hotel. >> the crime scene was a bloody, bloody mess. >> but after a death sentence, one man fights to save his life. >> you go into federal court and say my guy is innocent, and they say well, too bad, mate, that has nothing to do with it. >> and what he discovers will turn the case upside down. >> anybody in the world would say, what? that's not allowed. >> there were a series of questions that should have been asked. >> this case has more evidence that was covered up than any
other case i've seen in decades. >> there is a body in the water. >> he was butchered and murdered. >> many people proclaim their innocence. >> in this case there were a number of things that stink. >> this man is remorseless. >> he needs to pay for it with his life. >> the electric chair flashed in front of my eyes. >> get a conviction at all costs. let the truth fall where it may. ♪ [ gunshots ] >> a double homicide was discovered at the dupont plaza hotel in downtown miami. >> this was a very sensational crime. how many times do you have a double homicide in a downtown
miami hotel? >> the crime scene was a bloody, bloody mess. >> the father was shot six times. he was crawling, trying to escape. the son was shot "execution style." this was a pretty shocking case. >> the dead men were derek moo young, a father of four and his son dwayne who had just been accepted to law school. a few hours after the shooting, a journalist named neville butler contacted police saying he saw his boss, 47-year-old kris maharaj, pull the trigger. >> our big break was when we received a telephone call that there was an individual by the name of neville butler that wanted to speak to us. >> butler described the crimes in painstaking detail to burmaster. >> kris opened the door and came out with a gun in hand, a glove on. and that is when i almost passed
out. and i asked kris, what on earth is this? he says, keep out of this. that's when he fired the first shot. at his leg. we all dashed at him. and that's when kris must have let go about four or five bullets. >> the television that was there, the lamp and everything had all been shot up. the screen of the television had been destroyed from the bullet. >> he turned his attention now to the son. he said come with me. and he took him up the stairs and had him kneel down against the wall. and then the next thing i heard was, he shot the boy in the back of his head. >> kris maharaj was a wealthy importer from england who had started a newspaper business in miami. he was quickly charged with two counts of first-degree murder. the maximum sentence? the death penalty.
>> it didn't look too good for kris. the lead detective said he denied ever being in room 1215, while his fingerprints were all over the place. that was a lie. kris denied ever having a gun. he clearly did have a nine millimeter pistol. the ballistics expert came in and said that is the type of weapon used in this murder. he had invested in property, and derek was supervising that property. according to kris, derrick had stolen $441,000, just embezzled it. so kris had a motive. he clearly hated the moo youngs, and finally, the icing was on the cake was a star witness, neville butler. >> kris's case went to trial. in court, the defense presented no alibi witnesses and kris never took the stand. ron petrillo was the defense investigator on the case. >> i knew when i heard all of this going on, coming out of the
jury room what the final outcome was going to be. >> the jury returned guilty verdicts in less than four hours. >> and then when it went to the penalty phase, the judge gave him the death sentence. >> during his ruling, the judge declared the coldness and calculated manner in which the defendant executed his heinous plan could not be overstated. kris would officially begin his time on death row. >> one, they gave me the death sentence, i said god knows i am innocent. they will not kill me. they cannot. >> kris was from england, a country that had abolished the death penalty for murder in 1965. with one of their citizens on death row, the british government asked clive stafford smith to investigate the case. clive was a young idealistic
lawyer who had made a name for himself fighting death penalty cases on a pro bono cases. >> by the time i had gotten there in '94, he had been sentenced to death, had gone up to the u.s. supreme court on appeal, to the u.s. supreme court, it had come back down. my first thought was, oh, my goodness, how did i let myself into this? >> despite his reluctance, clive agreed to meet with the man he presumed was guilty. >> i never talk to people when i first meet them about did you do it? they don't know you. they don't trust you. kris was one of those rare people that insisted on giving me a lecture about the fact that he didn't do it. and i found that quite convincing, although i will say the evidence against him was pretty strong at the time. >> as a former cop, ron petrillo also had doubts about kris's innocence when he joined the case. >> initially, i just thought kris just killed these guys. but i'm looking to see where the evidence takes me, and it didn't add up.
the deeper i got into the investigation it began to dawn on me that kris was innocent. >> he was very, very loyal to kris and he carried on after the case was over even though he was not being paid or anything. >> ron and clive noticed discrepancies in the prosecution's story about the murders, and set out to look for answers. >> i demanded to see the files of the prosecutor and the police. i start going through it. and i'm sitting there with some extraordinarily bad coffee in the police headquarters going through this very carefully tabbed file. i discovered that neville butler, the star witness, failed his polygraph test. i discover notes that show that the police knew that kris had lost his gun before the murders ever took place. this case is more evidence that was covered up than any other case i've ever seen in decades. huh, fifteen minutes could save
you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. everybody knows that. well, did you know words really can hurt you? what...? jesse don't go! jesse...no! i'm sorry daisy, but i'm a loner. and a loner gotta be alone. heee yawww! geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. jesse? day to deliver your mail so if you have any packages you want to return you should just give them to us i mean, we're going to be there anyway why don't you just leave it for us to pick up? or you could always get in your car and take it back yourself yeah, us picking it up is probably your easiest option it's kind of a no brainer ok, well, good talk
just a year before kris maharaj was put on death row for the murders of derrick and duane moo young in florida, he had been living a life of luxury in england. >> kris had come to england when he was quite young, worked very hard and became a millionaire. >> in england, kris married and had four kids while working his way up from a truck driver to a business magnate. >> i was in business importing all sorts of foodstuffs. i started small and became the largest importer.
>> he was a very flamboyant millionaire here in london. he got his rolls royce, and then he began to get into horse racing. >> i was able to purchase 100 horses, 12 trainers. >> kris amassed the second biggest stable of racehorses in england. only the queen had more. having emigrated from trinidad, kris also mingled with members of parliament, gaining entrance into an upper crust, lilly white society rarely available to immigrants of color. >> when i got arrested for these murders, a member of parliament said we know maharaj, something is wrong. he has been framed. >> kris first met the men he had been accused of killing when he began importing their food from jamaica. after years of doing business together, derrick moo young asked kris to invest in houses
he was building in florida. >> my plan was when i reached 65 in england, i was going to spend the summer months in england and the winter months in ft. lauderdale. and i invested the money with him. >> but according to kris, the moo youngs took his money and embezzled it. they also incorporated as kdm distributors, a name eerily similar to kris' company and allegedly started drawing money from kris' accounts. >> according to kris, derrick had stolen property worth $441,000. so you can see why kris would be very angry. he wanted to put an end to this. >> kris was used to settling disputes with words, not weapons. he sued the moo youngs and told clive he expected to win. >> there was no question of me killing them for the money, as a matter of fact, killing them would make me lose the money, obviously. >> but if kris then had little
reason to walk into the dupont hotel with a loaded weapon, why was there so much evidence pointing to him as a suspect? according to kris he went to the dupont at 9:30 a.m. on the morning of the murders to meet a potential business partner for the newspaper he had started in miami. neville butler set up the meeting. >> neville butler took me up to the apartment, opened the apartment. >> but the man kris was supposed to meet was not there. >> neville butler said perhaps he went out. >> the two men waited for nearly an hour. >> he insisted i wait. i said no, i'm going. i am never late for an appointment and i am always on time and i left. >> at 10:30, kris drove 25 miles to ft. lauderdale and attended meetings during the hours that the murders took place, and he could prove it. kris had alibi witnesses, including an employee at his newspaper named tino geddes.
>> tino geddes swore to me that he had been with kris, gone to lunch, stayed by kris. >> the manager at the restaurant kris frequented also clearly remembered seeing kris at lunch. >> i know i saw kris the day of the murders because there was a person who was sick and i needed to come in and fill in for that person. it doesn't seem like there is any way possible that he could have killed people at 12:00 and then been in for lunch sometime between 12 and 2:00. >> five other witnesses would come forward placing kris with them on the day of the murders. >> i have no doubt that i saw him that day. so that was 12, 12:30, within that time. >> yet neville butler told miami p.d. homicide detective a convincing account of seeing maharaj commit the murders in cold blood. someone had to be lying. butler was a home run for
police, not only could he identify maharaj he would go on to lead detective burmaster to where he and kris planned to have dinner. >> i was at denny's having dinner, and i saw neville walk in with a man. he pulled out a card and showed me, i'm detective burmaster, you're being arrested for murder. i said, what are you talking about? >> kris would be taken for interrogation and stark differences would emerge about what was said during that conversation. >> john burmaster said kris denied being in room 1215 while his fingerprints were all over the place. >> kris' fingerprints would only be significant if he denied being in the room to police. >> i told them i went to the hotel. i was in room 1215 for about an hour. >> burmaster said that kris had denied ever having a gun.
he clearly did have a .9 millimeter pistol. >> that is another manufactured answer by mr. burmaster. i told him, yes, i owned a gun, and i owned one when i lived in trinidad. in england i owned a gun. >> but if he thought kris was trying to hide something, he never took a sworn statement during the interrogation to document that fact. and the lie detector test kris took later that evening would support kris' version of events. >> they had one of the top polygraph examiners in florida do these tests. kris passed. that was plain and simple. >> despite passing the lie detector and having numerous alibi witnesses, kris was booked and held without bail. it would be a year before he'd get his day in court. >> put it this way, i went from living like a prince to living like an animal. >> on the eve of trial, kris and his investigator, ron petrillo, felt good about their chances.
>> kris had seven or eight alibis, i had located people and gotten him sworn statement that put him squarely in broward county, some 25 miles away, during the time that these murders occurred. >> but with his trial approaching, kris got word that one of his key alibis, tino geddes, was about to change his story. >> everything tino had said, that he was with kris, that he was in broward county when the murders took place, it was all a lie according to tino. >> geddes was now going to testify for the prosecution and no one, including kris, was prepared for the accusations geddes was about to make. [alarm beeps] [ignition starts] ♪
go beyond utility. introducing the first ever nx turbo and hybrid from lexus. be seen. be heard. make some noise. ♪ mhere's our new trainer! ensure active heart health. crowd: yayyyy! heart: i'm going to focus on the heart. i minimize my sodium and fat... gotta keep it lean and mean. pear: uh-oh. heart: i maximize good stuff like my potassium... and phytosterols, which may help lower cholesterol. major: i'm feeling energized already. new delicious ensure active heart health supports your heart and body, so you stay active and strong. ensure. take life in. ♪ expected wait time: 55 minutes.
your call is important to us. thank you for your patience. waiter! vo: in the nation, we know how it feels when you aren't treated like a priority. we do things differently. we'll take care of it. vo: we put members first... join the nation. thank you. ♪ nationwide is on your side wdo you insist on being bcalled the taxonator? then you might be gearcentric. right now, save $10 on turbo tax and h&r block deluxe and higher. office depot & officemax. gear up for great.
kris maharaj was facing the death penalty for the murders of derrick and duane moo young. when shortly before trial, tino geddes, when shortly before trial, had a dramatic change of heart. >> tino geddes worked for kris, a newspaper that he working on. from day one, from the beginning, he swore to me he had been with kris. now, tino changes his story on the day the murders were committed, he wasn't with kris. kris wanted the moo youngs dead. >> tino was now claiming kris's actions in the murders had been premeditated. john kastranokas was a prosecutor on kris's case.
>> he said he had been with maharaj on several occasions, when he had tried to kill the victims and members of their family. and that in fact, kris maharaj's sole motive at the time was the death of derrick and duane young. >> tino said kris had done a dry run at the dupont plaza hotel, where he had prepared to murder the moo youngs. and kris was going to burst through from room 404 to room 406 to do it. i went to the dupont plaza, there is no door between 404 and 406. there are all sorts of reasons why tino is lying. the question was why. >> why do you think geddes changed his story? >> tino geddes had a dwi trial coming up, and he was also being charged with smuggling guns and ammunition. >> he was smuggling a whole bunch of guns from jamaica at a time when there was very, very harsh sentencing. my experience is the vast
majority of people, when they are facing life in prison, they're ready to say anything, and probably about their grandmother. >> in tino geddes' misfortune, the prosecution sensed an opportunity and flew to jamaica to help their new witness. >> paul ridge and john went to testify on his behalf and got him off with, i think, just the fine instead of doing jail time. and i thought well, okay, they're doing their job. until i found out that they, and tino, went to a strip club. a lot of people would say, well, what they do on their own time is their own business. but they're there on my dime as a taxpayer. testifying on behalf of this man and they go to a strip club with him? yeah, i would say that they got a little too close.
>> kris's trial began on october 5th, 1987, almost exactly a year after the murders occurred. it was presided over by judge howard gross, known to friends as mousey, because of his small frame and large ears. kris' attorney was eric hendon, who had helped other accused killers avoid the death penalty. during opening arguments, the prosecution contended that the moo youngs were innocent businessmen, gunned down by kris, the cold-blooded killer. eric hendon said they would hear fictional stories from the prosecution worthy of a hollywood drama. but on the third day of trial the proceedings came to a sudden halt. >> what happened on day three of the trial, if you can believe it, is that howie the mouse doesn't show up, because he's been arrested taking kickbacks in another case. and he had been caught by law enforcement agents posing as
drug dealers of all people. >> mousy's removal was a golden opportunity for kris's lawyer, eric hendon, to call for a mistrial. with the new trial, hendon would know the prosecution's arguments ahead of time. without a new trial, the judge replacing mousey could face deciding a death sentence without hearing all the evidence. >> i wanted a mistrial. and hendon told me, his advice to me was not to ask for a mistrial. >> he said they would just go on with the trial because he felt they made headway and they had a good jury. >> why would they do this? >> probably the main motivation was he was on a set fee. and you're going to have to start over and that cuts into your fee. >> hendon maintained he had worked hard on behalf of his client, but letting the trial continue seemed like an unusual choice. the jury would go on to hear six days of testimony, all directed against kris. neville butler testified about the graphic details of the murders he said he had watched
kris commit. tino geddes said that kris had asked him to fabricate an alibi. and detective john burmaster said kris tried to cover up the crime during his interrogation. when the case was finally turned over to the defense, hendon's judgment would again come into question. >> eric said to me that if he didn't call any witnesses he would have two shots at the jury in closing argument. i said to him but you're for the you're not going to do that. he didn't answer me. >> eric hendon's defense case for kris would consist of only nine words. >> eric stood up, and said your honor, the defense rests. eric didn't call a single witness. nothing.
i thought kris was going to rip the skin off my forearm. >> i just couldn't believe my head. i was shocked. >> it is not often in a capital case you get six alibi witnesses putting your client somewhere else. why did the lawyer not put those on? >> i have never wanted to hit another human being, physically attack another human being like i did that day with eric hendon. >> the jury responded to hendon's strategy by returning guilty verdicts for two first degree murders. they would also vote whether or not to recommend the death penalty. and with florida being the only remaining state where a simple majority is needed in sentencing, the vote in favor of death passed by a count of 7-5. the judge who replaced mousey agreed. kris would be sentenced to die in the electric chair.
>> kris fainted. kris hit the floor. passed out completely. >> when the verdict took place, i was found guilty, i thought this can't be real, it is unreal. i couldn't believe in america you will be found guilty for something you didn't do. ready for another reason to switch to t-mobile. get 2 lines of unlimited 4g lte data for just $100 bucks a month. it's america's best unlimited family plan. and it's only at t-mobile. our little leaf that helps guide you through the past. simply type in a name and you're taken on a journey.
a journey that crosses generations. and continents. all to tell the most amazing story. yours. discover your story. start searching for free now at ancestry.com for over 19 million people. [ susan ] my promotion allowed me to start investing for my retirement. transamerica made it easy. [ female announcer ] everyone has a moment when tomorrow becomes real. transamerica. transform tomorrow.
when clive finally got the chance to appeal kris' case in 1995, he immediately set out to present all the alibi witnesses who were never called at trial. >> i talked to the alibi witnesses who were very convincing, they say it was true, kris was not at the dupont plaza hotel at 12:00 noon that day because he was with us in ft. lauderdale. >> but kris' alibi fell on deaf ears, as the courts would only consider whether kris had received a fair trial in 1987. >> it's actually very hard to win a case just seeing the facts are wrong. mostly it's about what people discouragingly call legal technicalities. >> but clive did have an opening. if he could show kris' attorney eric hendon had been ineffective
in representing kris, it would open the door to a new trial and new witnesses. ben kuehne also worked on kris' appeals and would cross-examine eric hendon. >> eric hendon was over his head at that time. he needed help in a case of this magnitude. and kris suffered the consequences as a result of his lawyer's errors. >> but hendon needed to admit under oath that he made mistakes and when ben asked him why he didn't present kris' alibis, he told the court, it appeared to me as if these were alibi witnesses who had been sought out. it seemed all too convenient. in other words, hendon didn't believe any of kris' alibis. >> how is one lawyer going to be the judge of the credibility of a witness who could be the key to a not guilty verdict? that's not a decision for a lawyer to make. not with the stakes this high.
>> hendon said he had a strategic reason for not putting on the alibi, he thought the alibi was too good. now, once a lawyer says that, and it takes it out of the realm of the lawyers ineptitude and becomes a strategic decision by the lawyer that the courts won't second-guess. >> ultimately the court agreed with clive and ben, refusing to find that eric hendon had been ineffective. clive was still convinced kris was innocent, and while preparing further appeals he came across the prosecution's files and discovered evidence he felt police and prosecutors apparently did not want kris to have. >> i started going through it, and i discovered the police knew kris had lost his gun before the murders ever took place. i discovered kris told them from the very beginning he had been in room 1215, to all those fingerprints, there was a perfectly innocent explanation. >> clive had also seen photos from the crime scene of a briefcase belonging to the moo youngs. the contents were something that
ron petrillo had requested to see before the trial. >> burmaster was too busy to see me, he sent the young girl out. i open the briefcase and it's empty. and i said to her, where are the contents? and she said that detective burmaster told her to tell me that he didn't find anything of any evidentiary value and returned the contents to the family. >> burmaster had said they had gotten rid of the moo youngs' briefcase. that wasn't true. here in the file were hundreds of papers, intriguing stuff, it was like christmas really. short of them paying $24,000 a year which they were portraying, they were offering loans around the caribbean to the tune of
first $100 million, then $250 million. it was just extraordinary stuff. >> they didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out, where were they coming up with $100 million? >> shortly before their deaths, derrick and duane moo young also took out over $1 million worth of life insurance. the company that issued those policies found it suspicious and hired an attorney to investigate. the timing seemed suspicious. >> the moo youngs' headquarters which consisted of a garage at the family home only had left an old telex machine and no documents whatsoever. the more we learned about it, it seemed like they were either selling fictitious goods entirely, or they were laundering the money. >> but if the moo youngs were involved in money laundering, whose money were they laundering? >> those kind of dollars and narcotics often go hand in hand in miami, particularly in the
1980s, i think that's fair to say. >> to note, i didn't really get that, i didn't really understand miami in the '80s. >> say hello to my little friend. >> federal agents seized 25,000 pounds of cocaine. >> in the '80s, the moo youngs were operating in a city where drug smuggling was bringing in an estimated 7 to $12 billion a year. >> the banks in miami had more money than all the other banks in the country put together. people were walking in and buying mercedes and porsches for cash. >> miami could be described as the overseas corporate headquarters for money laundering for the colombians. >> with so much drug money at stake, cartel violence ballooned into what would become known as the cocaine wars. and law enforcement was quickly overwhelmed. >> we had bank robberies, kidnapping, extortion. one of the guys shot me through the fingers. in the back of the arm.
standing between my legs, i went to kick him and he shot me in the groin. i figured he would kill me. >> these drug dealers were the most violent, desperate criminals that we ever had in south florida. they would see a pretty girl in the car, they would rape and kill the girl and keep the car. >> in the 1980s, miami's homicide rate doubled. turning the city of sun and beaches into the murder capital of the nation. >> there have been so many murders throughout greater miami lately that a special refrigerated truck is being used to store all the bodies. >> it turns out it was a refrigerated truck that they had rented from burger king to haul all the bodies. >> clive was beginning to see the frame around the picture of the murders, and he now wondered whether the moo youngs had found themselves caught in the crosshairs of miami's cartel violence. clive felt the road map to the '80s could be found in the moo
youngs' briefcase. >> we figured out the moo youngs were laundering money for the cartels. they got greedy and came up with this great plan they would skim 1% off the money. so if you were ripping off the colombian drug cartels, that's a slightly stronger motive for you getting killed than what was going on with kris. it totally re-framed the case. now we have a huge alternative suspect. >> a suspect that happened to be staying in the room directly across the hall from the murders. your pocket right now? i have $40, $21. could something that small make an impact on something as big as your retirement? i don't think so. well if you start putting that towards your retirement every week and let it grow over time, for twenty to thirty years, that retirement challenge might not seem so big after all. ♪
whatever your idea is, build it beautiful on squarespace. my lenses have a sunset mode. and an early morning mode. and a partly sunny mode. and an outside... to clear inside mode. transitions® signature™ adaptive lenses... are more responsive than ever. so why settle for a lens with just one mode? experience life well lit®. ...upgrade your lenses to transitions® signature™. visit your local walmart vision center today. to ask about transitions® signature™ lenses with chromea7™ technology. and start living a life well lit®. (hi!) choose (hello!) choose choose. but at bedtime? ...why settle for this? enter sleep number, and the ultimate sleep number event, going on now. sleepiq technology tells you how well you slept and what adjustments you can make. you like the bed soft. he's more hardcore. so your sleep goes from good to great to wow! now we can all choose amazing sleep, only at a sleep number store. right now save 50% on the
clive stafford smith had uncovered evidence suggesting that before the moo youngs were murdered they may have been stealing money from a colombia drug cartel. and a photo ron petrillo had seen from the crime scene would buttress clive's theory. >> when you look at the crime scene photo, there were blood drops in the hall, and there was blood smear on the door frame of 1214. it begs the question, who was in 1214? >> did you ultimately find out who it was?
>> oh, yeah, i wound up writing an employee and found out it was a guy named mejia. >> jaime vallejo mejia told police he was an importer. but the truth was he would soon be busted by drug enforcement for money laundering. >> detective burmaster said i chatted with him for a few minutes, standing in the hallway and he didn't seem to know anything. >> this is the only other guy who is there. the only room occupied on the 12th floor. we discovered mejia was wanted at the time of kris' trial for conspiracy to take $40 million in cash to switzerland. >> former dea agent had his own opinion. >> he was involved in the money laundering business. not only was he working for escobar, but there was some other money being done for
another organization as well. hail may told police he worked for an import/export company and worked for insurance companies. that doesn't make sense. people who work for insurance companies don't work in the import business. why is there blood on the door if everything happened across the hall? it doesn't add up. there were a series of questions that should have been asked of him that were not asked. >> officers took a brief statement from jaime mejia and let him go. would the jurors at kris' trial have found an alternate explanation of the murders had they seen evidence about the moo youngs and mejia. while putting together the appeal, clive pieced together what he believed was the evidence as it appeared in his mind. >> what happened in my mind, the moo youngs were laundering money for the cartels. they started skimming money off the top. they then got in trouble. and it was set up so they would meet in the dupont plaza hotel and kris would be there, too. all three were meant to die.
it was then going to be left as a mode of suicide where you have two guys you liked killed and you've got someone else fingered for it. clearly never butler is there. somehow jaime mejia must have been supervising it. >> but the courts were not the least beat interested in the suspicions or the evidence they had gathered. innocence was not the issue. >> one of the bizarre things that americans have no idea about is whether you're innocent or not is not a legal issue. you go into federal court on a disposition and say my guy is innocent, they say well, too bad, mate, that has nothing to do with it. and the judge actually said that in kris' case. >> but clive did manage to produce a document into the proceedings that the courts could not ignore. a document showing that the death sentence had been issued by some other judge.
>> i find in the prosecution file orders sentencing kris to death written 14 days before the hearing for sentencing. they were written by the prosecutors, because it said jsk. that's obviously john. >> in allowing prosecutor john kastrenakes to set his death sentence, he ultimately allowed him to impose the death sentence at the sentencing phase of trial. >> the judge asked the prosecutor would you prepare a proposed sentencing order imposing the death penalty before the sentencing had been completed? anybody in the world would say what? that is not allowed. >> the evidence was enough to vacate kris' death sentence, he would no longer be scheduled to die in the electric chair. but kris was far from a free man.
clive and ben would now argue for a more lenient sentence for kris in front of a judge and jury who could once again sentence kris to death. this is not a trial about innocence or guilt, only the proper punishment. and kris' wife would look on. at the hearing, the state brought back kris' familiar detractors, detective john burmaster and neville butler who reconfirmed their original testimony. >> what did you observe about him? >> he had a gun in one hand, a pillow in the other. >> the jury was not allowed to hear any of the new evidence that clive had discovered. but they did listen to 24 character witnesses in support of kris, including peter bottomly, kris's friend from the british parliament, who testified via satellite. >> i like him and respect him and find him the kind of person i'm pleased to be associated with. >> finally after seven days of emotional testimony, the jury
would hand down a new recommendation for kris. >> the jury advises and recommends to the court that it impose a sentence of life imprisonment without a possibility of parole for the first 25 years. >> the judge imposed a life sentence. that saved kris' life. >> but that just meant he wasn't on death row anymore. he's still going to die in prison. >> kris' appeals had gone through the florida courts and the federal level without so much as a hearing about his innocence. so the question remained. why was there so much evidence that kris did not commit the murders? as it turned out, one man had an answer to that question. a cop. who said he was there the day of the murders and knew all about them because he helped cover them up.
veggies you're cool... reworking the menu. mayo, corn dogs...you are so out of here! ahh... the complete balanced nutrition of great tasting ensure. 24 vitamins and minerals. 9 grams of protein... with 30% less sugars than before. ensure, your #1 dr. recommended brand now introduces ensure active. muscle health. clear protein drink and high protein. targeted nutrition to feed your active life. ensure. take life in.
>> as it turned out, one police officer jailed for corruption would hear about kris's case and tell clive he knew what happened because he was there. >> a witness that would tell the truth. and this officer told me that the police back in the 1980s had a deal with drug dealers where they would protect the murderers who were going around killing people in these drug cases.
they would frame someone else with the crime if anyone got on to them. this officer told me yeah, yeah, kris was framed. it was my former partner who did it. >> it took clive a full year to convince the former cop who asked to be called fred to go on the record and in a sworn statement fred declared, i was formerly a police officer in miami. i was persuaded by another prisoner to tell what i know about kris maharaj to his lawyer, clive stafford smith. i do not expect to benefit from doing this. i know the particulars of the maharaj case. indeed, i visited the scene of the crime when it happened. i know that mr. maharaj was framed because officers investigating the double murder told me they were going to do this. i had a moral duty to free a man who had been framed for 26 years and spent many of those years on death row. he could have been executed for something he did not do.
while fred may believe the cops in kris' case were on the take he has never identified the individuals involved. no evidence has ever been presented in court to substantiate his claim. but recently, some of clive's suspicions about who killed the moo youngs were confirmed when he sent someone to colombia to speak the man who had been across the hall at the tichl murders. jaime mejia was flanked by four men with guns in the years when he discovered that he ran afoul of the drug smuggling operation. and said the moo youngs had to be dealt with. >> i visit kris every week. i don't tell people about kris' case. i don't discuss kris' case
because if i tell them they will think i'm crazy. he is not losing his hopes, and you know, that is good. >> all i can say about marita is god sent her to me. she is a blessing, sent by god. if i would switch places with marita, i would not put up with what she did. she is one in a million. she is the heroine of this tragedy. >> you cannot have a better husband. even now that he is in prison, there is nothing he really can do for me. but he has a lot of hope. >> in 2008, clive and ben kuehne submitted a clemency appeal to the governor of florida documenting the actions of police and prosecutors in the case and presenting the new evidence they found. >> it was a case for clemency. kris had been in prison for over
20 years, which is a long time to serve for anything. but the victim's family showed up en masse. and charlie crist was the governor at the time and he instantly denied clemency. by now, kris is 70 years old. he's in bad health. his poor wife marita stuck by him. i've been representing kris now for 18 years and i have failed to get him justice. the most culpable character in kris' scenario is the justice system because they're just not interested in justice. as we develop more and more evidence to prove that, a, he's innocent, b, he had an unfair trial, no one wants to listen.
on this episode of "death row stories," a terrifying crime. >> the victim was so innocent. >> a condemned man fights for his life. >> no matter how much i begged, no one listens to a convicted murderer. >> until a passionate priest helps dig for the truth. >> my heart just dropped into the pit of my stomach, and i'm thinking, what else is here? >> it's the biggest smoke-screen i've ever seen in my life. >> there's a body in the water.