Justice

Death Row Stories: Kris Maharaj

Published 11:38 AM ET, Fri July 4, 2014
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Former millionaire Kris Maharaj, 75, languishes in a Florida prison 27 years after being convicted of a double murder at a Miami hotel. Click through the gallery for details about this fascinating case, featured on "Death Row Stories," Sunday, July 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNN. CNN
Starting with nothing, Maharaj built a successful food importing business in Britain. He mingled with royalty and owned 100 race horses. By the 1980s he had moved to Miami. Marita Maharaj
Maharaj invested money with Duane Moo Young, shown here, and his father, Derrick. There was a disagreement over $441,000, which Maharaj said the Moo Youngs had embezzled. Dade County Court
On October 16, 1986 police found the Moo Youngs' bloody bodies in Room 1215 at Miami's Dupont Plaza Hotel. This police evidence photo shows one of the bodies in a doorway. Dade County Court
Police found Maharaj's fingerprints in the room. Maharaj says he was there to meet the Moo Youngs, but he departed before they arrived and were killed. Nineteen fingerprints found at the crime scene have never been identified, according to a defense motion. Dade County Court
Defense attorneys say a "treasure trove of documents" was contained in a briefcase found at the crime scene. "We know from the documents in the Moo Young briefcase that they were peddling false letters of credit and skimming money" from Pablo Escobar's Medellin cocaine cartel, said a court motion filed by Maharaj's defense team. Dade County Court
Shortly after the murders, Maharaj was arrested. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1987. Since the beginning, Maharaj has insisted he is innocent. Witnesses have supported Maharaj's alibi, saying he was somewhere else at the time of the murders. Defense attorneys accuse prosecutors of covering up evidence that could have proved his innocence.
Dade County Court
Throughout Maharaj's time behind bars, his wife, Marita, has been fighting to keep his spirits up. "He and his wife talk every day on the phone," defense attorney Clive Stafford Smith told CNN. "And she goes to see him every Sunday." Marita Maharaj
Smith and the defense team successfully pressed Florida courts to reduce Maharaj's death sentence to life in prison in 2002. Smith says new witnesses have been found who will testify that the killings were hits ordered by Escobar and that Maharaj was framed. But Florida state attorneys say none of the witnesses has firsthand knowledge of the case or can provide admissible testimony or evidence. CNN