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Conviction upheld in slaying of Florida boatbuilder

A Florida judge Tuesday refused to overturn the conviction of powerboat racer Benjamin Kramer, who was charged with ordering the 1987 assassination of powerboat builder Don Aronow.

Kramer pleaded no contest to manslaughter in 1996 and agreed to a 19-year sentence to run concurrent to a life federal prison term for marijuana smuggling, the Miami Herald reported.

In March, Kramer said prosecutors sent him to prison without ever telling his defense lawyers that the admitted triggerman had confessed that Colombians - not Kramer - had hired him to kill Aronow.

Aronow was gunned down in February 1987 outside his USA Racing office.

Prosecutors asserted that Kramer ordered Aronow's assassination in a business dispute.

Bobby Young, a convicted killer, kidnapper and cocaine trafficker, admitted to authorities that he gunned down Aronow. He pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in 1995 and was sentenced to 19 years, but his plea deal did not require him to identify who had hired him for the hit.

Kramer's lawyers said Young confessed in February 2009 - shortly before he passed away in prison - and told police and prosecutors about the so-called Colombian connection and that they kept the information from his defense team, the newspaper reported.

But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dava Tunis, after reviewing documents in the court file, agreed Tuesday that Kramer's previous defense lawyers had known that Young once said Colombians hired him.

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