Krishna Maharaj has been sitting behind bars for 27 years facing first a death sentence and then two life sentences. Throughout, Maharaj has claimed his innocence and now at the age of 75, he is one step closer to what he hopes is vindication.
“This is a novel, in real life,” said Maharaj’s attorney, Ben Kuehne.
The case dates back to 1987 when Maharaj, a British businessman, was convicted of a double murder at Miami’s Dupont Plaza Hotel. Kuehne said the position since day one is that Maharaj didn’t commit the murders.
Thursday, Judge William Thomas granted a hearing to consider new evidence in this case.
Kuehne said prosecutors convinced the Jamaican criminal justice system to be lenient on an important witness in the case. The witness, according to Kuehne, first made statements consistent with Maharaj’s innocence.
However, Kuehne said the witness changed his story during testimony. So who does Kuehne say is responsible for the double murder?
"Drug organizations were involved with the victims and may have put out a contract on the victims, at least one of the victims,'' Kuehne said.
Kuehne specifically singled out the Medellin cartel once headed by Pablo Escobar. Lawyers said information they have suggests Escobar gave the order to kill at least one of the victims.
Attorneys also maintained that someone involved Maharaj in all of the crimes as part of an elaborate ploy to protect the motivation for the real killing.
"He is cautious. Convincing the court system of his innocence is a hard thing. It's the right thing, but it's a hard thing," Kuehne said.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are scheduled to meet with the judge in mid-May to set a date for the evidentiary hearing.