Lawyers representing Krishna Maharaj, a British businessman who has spent the past 27 years in a Florida prison for a double murder that they say he did not commit, released on Friday details of the 53 witnesses and 498 documents they plan to call on in the hope of persuading a judge to order a retrial.
Next Wednesday, the 11th judicial circuit court of Florida in Miami will set a date for a full evidentiary hearing into the Maharaj case. The hearing will constitute his greatest chance in almost three decades to prove his innocence for the murders of his business partner Derrick Moo Young and Young’s son Duane in the Dupont Plaza hotel in Miami on 16 October 1986.
Maharaj, 75, was sentenced to death in 1987, and though he was taken off death row in 2002 he was resentenced to life imprisonment. He is currently held in a prison in south Florida.
The newly released documents underline the massive case for exoneration that has been built up by Maharaj’s lawyers. One of them, Clive Stafford Smith of the legal support group Reprieve, who has written a book on the case, The Injustice System: A Murder in Miami and a Trial Gone Wrong, told the Guardian: “Kris Maharaj is so patently innocent that it is unimaginable to me that the state of Florida does not let him go. It is a very sad day when the government desperately wants to keep the wrong person in prison, such that they will not even investigate who the real killers are.”