Region 8 Man Accused in Florida Boat Killings to Change Plea

MIAMI - An northeast Arkansas man who has maintained his innocence in the killings of four people aboard the charter boat "Joe Cool" is scheduled to change his plea later this month.

A federal judge on Thursday scheduled a hearing July 28 in which Kirby Archer of Strawberry (Lawrence County) could plead guilty.

Prosecutors say the 36-year-old Archer and 20-year-old Guillermo Zarabozo hired the charter boat for $4,000 to go to the Bahamas, then tried to divert it to Cuba.

Zarabozo has pleaded not guilty and blamed Archer in court papers for killing the captain, his wife and two crew members when they resisted.

Both men face charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and illegal seizure of a maritime vessel among other charges.

The pair intially told authorities the boat was overtaken by Cuban pirates after leaving Miami.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)