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Man indicted in connection with murder aboard fishing vessel off Nantucket

The Captain Billy Haver was docked in Boston on Sept. 25.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

A federal grand jury Thursday indicted a 27-year-old Mexican man in connection with a bloody rampage aboard a fishing boat about 55 miles off the Massachusetts coast that left one person dead, federal prosecutors said.

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, according to a statement from the US attorney’s office for Massachusetts.

On Sept. 23, the 82-foot Virginia-based fishing trawler, the Captain Billy Haver, was about 55 miles from Nantucket with seven crew members aboard, including Vazquez, when violence erupted, according to the attorney’s office.


At some point in the afternoon, Vazquez allegedly attacked three crew members while wielding a knife and hammer, before scampering up the ship’s mast while others aboard tried to capture him, authorities said.

The ship’s captain placed a distress call, and a German cruise ship responded. Two of the wounded were taken aboard the cruise ship, where one victim was pronounced dead by the ship’s doctor, federal prosecutors said.

In released audio of the mayday call for help, the captain said, “We have a man gone crazy here on the boat, man. . . . One of the crew members went crazy. 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.”

Vazquez, who is living in the United States illegally, has been detained since he was arrested and charged Sept. 24, according to the attorney’s office. In March, he was arrested in Virginia for allegedly trying to strangle his 20-year-old wife and abducting her.

Now, he faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the second degree murder charge, according to federal authorities. He could also face 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, authorities said.


Vazquez would be subject to deportation proceedings after the completion of any sentence, according to the attorney’s office.

A message left with Vazquez’s attorney was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.

John R. Ellement and Travis Andersen of Globe staff and Globe correspondent Jackson Cote contributed to this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.