Murder at sea: Suspect indicted in deadly scalloper attack

A federal grand jury has indicted a 27-year-old Mexican man on several charges related to a fatal rampage aboard the 82-foot scalloper Captain Billy Haver off the coast of Massachusetts in September.

Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez was indicted on one count of murder in the second degree, one count of attempted murder, and one count of assault with a dangerous weapon on Nov. 16, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Vazquez is a Mexican national in the United States illegally and was working as a crewman on the boat.

The attack took place on Sept. 23, about 55 miles off Nantucket with seven crew members aboard. According to the authorities, Vazquez attacked three crew members with a knife and hammer. He then climbed the mast to escape other crew members’ attempt to capture him.

The Coast Guard released audio of the distress call made by the scallop boat’s captain.

“We have a man gone crazy here on the boat, man… One of the crew members went crazy,” said the captain. “He started hitting people in the head with a hammer. I got three men that’s injured right now. One, I can’t wake him up. I don’t know if he’s dead or not.”

A German cruise ship, the Mein Schiff 6, responded the the captain’s distress call and took two of the injured crew members aboard. One victim was declared dead by the ship’s doctor shortly after the transfer.

A 270-foot Coast Guard cutter also responded, and a law enforcement team boarded the Captain Billy Haver at sea and arrested Vazquez. He has been detained since the incident.

Vasquez was previously arrested in March for allegedly trying to strangle his 20-year-old fiancée and abducting her.

Vasquez now faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the second degree murder charge; up to 20 years behind bars, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine if found guilty of the attempted murder charge; and up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the assault charge, according to federal authorities on the case. He would likely be deported after the completion of any sentence.

About the author

Samuel Hill

Samuel Hill is associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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