Fisherman Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Three Crewmates and Killing One

Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez (booking photo courtesy Newport News Police)

Published Mar 14, 2022 10:41 PM by The Maritime Executive

A former crewmember of the scallop vessel Captain Billy Haver has pleaded guilty to attacking three crewmates and killing one in an onboard rampage in 2018. 

Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez, 27, attacked three of his crewmates with a hammer and a knife in the Haver's shucking house while the Haver was under way off Nantucket in September 2018. He struck one crewmember unconscious with a hammer, stabbed a second crewmember multiple times, and struck a third crewmember in the head when he attempted to come to the aid of his crewmates. He then struggled with the captain and escaped by climbing up the ship's mast.

The U.S. Coast Guard received a distress call from the Haver and dispatched a cutter, and the nearby cruise ship Mein Schiff 6 diverted to assist. The Mein Schiff took aboard the two fishermen who were injured the most in the attack, including one who was pronounced dead on board. The Coast Guard cutter Legare diverted to meet the trawler and a boarding team immediately arrested Vazquez.

Prosecutors said that Vazquez, a 27-year-old Mexican national, was in the U.S. illegally. He had been arrested on charges of abduction in Newport News six months before the attack, but he had been released after posting a bond. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement that it had recommended against his release.

Sentencing for the case is set for June 28. The charge of second-degree murder provides for a sentence of up to life in prison, and the charge of attempted murder provides for up to 20 years. The assault charge could add up to another 10 years. At the completion of any sentence, he will be subject to deportation.