Archive for the ‘Joe Cool’ Category

The Joe Cool Case: "The Face Of Evil"
October 3, 2007

You sit in court and wonder what makes the accused tick. That is certainly what I have been doing as the drama of the Joe Cool case unfolds in Federal Court. Kirby Archer and Guillermo Zarabozo charted the fishing boat, Joe Cool, for what was essentially was a taxi ride to the Bahamas. On the way the four person crew disappeared and Archer and Zarabozo were found in the vessel’s life boat with all their luggage and cash, just miles from Cuba. The boat was spotted and recovered a day earlier near a remote southern Bahamian Cay.

Zarabozo and Archer are now caught up in the Federal Judicial System. Archer wanted in Arkansas for stealing $92-thousand dollars from a Wal-Mart where he worked. Zarabozo busted for lying to a federal agent. They are not charged in the case of the missing crew, but the feds say those charges are on the way.

Zarabozo is a 19 year old kid, how he got hooked up with the much older Archer is still a mystery, murky at best. Archer, a Spanish speaking ex-military cop might have met Zarabozo’s father at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba when Cuban Rafter were detained at the base. Early reports were that the younger Zarabozo was also there as a child but now his mother disputes that story.

It is Kirby Archer that is most interesting. Some what of a drifter, he went AWOL from the army, he worked as a security guard, an investigator, an assistant store manager, he’s been involved in several relationships with women, divorced, he has fathered two boys. He is accused of having a mixed sexual orientation and “..had a relationship with a boy who was still in high school…according to documents filed in a nasty divorce case. His exact relationship with the younger Zarabozo is not defined.

I have watched Archer during two courtroom appearances. He has a military manner and haircut to match. He mirrors the picture local TV stations show with Archer in his Army dress uniform. He moves confidently and with a measure of comfort as he is shuttled through the jury box waiting his turn in front of the Judge. During his first appearance he was all set to represent himself until a public defender persuaded him otherwise. He was verbal, spoke well, and frankly seems at ease with the surroundings. In the last hearing the judge called his name and when the guards could not move him quickly the judge called his name again. “On my way sir,” Archer said with a smile. Pretty calm and cool for a guy that might be in huge trouble.

As the hearing went on long-time courtroom sketch artist Shirley Henderson was capturing the moment for the network and local TV stations. She was shading eye brows, putting highlights on foreheads, darkening lips, the chalk making a faint squeaking sound on on the rough paper. Shirley has been doing court sketches for years. She has drawn pictures of some of South Florida’s most high profile crooks. She knows her faces. What she said next jarred me. I don’t know if Kirby Archer is guilty in the disappearance and likely death of the Joe Cool crew but Shirley words are unforgettable: “he’s got the face of evil.”

What did she see that eluded me? Something for sure. This is a courtroom artist whose work hangs in some of the most prestigious law offices in town, not to mention having images published and broadcast world wide. “The face of evil,” that’s the take from the artist who has seen plenty of them. I am still sizing him up as I remind myself that a person charged is “innocent until proven guilty.” Zarabozo and Archer are at this writing are not charged with anything to do with the specific disappearance of the Joe Cool crew.

Maybe that is why Archer is so comfortable in court….. for now, but he might not be fooling one of the nation’s best courtroom artists.

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