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Haiti judge investigating president's assassination orders mayor's arrest. More possible

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

The mayor of a seaside Haitian beach town who flew to South Florida to meet with a politically ambitious Haitian-American pastor and others now accused in the July 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was himself arrested Monday in Port-au-Prince in connection with the brazen killing.

Marky Kessa’s arrest was ordered by the Haitian judge overseeing the investigation, a law enforcement source confirmed to the Miami Herald.

Kessa is now among at least seven participants in a meeting at the Tower Club in downtown Fort Lauderdale in early April 2021 who are now jailed, either in Haiti or Miami. Haitian authorities have long alleged that the Broward meeting played a key role in the plot to kill Moïse, who was shot inside his bedroom after a group of Colombian commandos, accompanied by two Haitian Americans and local police, stormed his residence in the middle of the night.

His wife, Martine, who was home at the time with their two children, was injured while the kids were unharmed.

Kessa’s arrest was ordered after he appeared before Judge Walter Wesser Voltaire, whose inquiry into the shocking and still-unsolved presidential murder has picked up steam over the past week.

Neither Voltaire nor Haiti National Police has given an explanation for the arrest. It is the first significant action taken by Voltaire since he became the fifth investigative judge to lead the inquiry a year and a half ago. The investigation has been characterized by high turnover of judges and allegations of corruption.


The mayor’s arrest isn’t expected to be the last in Haiti, where 17 people, Colombians and others, are in custody but awaiting formal charges more than two and a half years after the assassination.

In the United States, a parallel investigation has already resulted in three suspects pleading guilty, with a fourth, Joseph Vincent, expected to do so on Dec. 5.

Voltaire, in recent days, has both ordered a cadre of new suspects to appear before him and quietly issued arrest warrants. He has also summoned five others to appear before him to give testimony with the possibility of arrest in connection with the case. They include the former secretary general of the National Palace, Lyonel Valbrun.

Valbrun must appear before Voltaire on Tuesday.


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