Belize's courts eventually agreed with Hill and rejected Fuller's appeal first in June 1999 and then again in 2002. But the process has also been comically slow. In one hearing, after a 12-month delay, a prosecutor admitted she hadn't had time to prepare a single filing. "I am the only [prosecutor] available to do court matters right now," she told an exasperated judge.

Fuller's claim that Hill was duplicitous, meanwhile, gained some legitimacy in 2007 when the detective had his own bizarre run-in with the law. In May of that year, Hill arrested a 44-year-old house painter and driveway paver named David Superville on second-degree murder charges. Superville had a much younger wife, a gorgeous, 30-year-old Russian named Anna Gulevitskaya whom he'd met online and called a "mail-order bride." With her husband in jail, Hill bought her hotel rooms, tickets to Russia, and dinners, and the relationship turned sexual.

When Superville got out on bail six months later, he learned from former customers that his wife was shagging the cop who had booked him: Ed Hill. Internal affairs investigators soon found Hill guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and civil service violations, and suspended him for three weeks. He was suspended again in July 2009, after a friend of Gulevitskaya's was murdered in West Little River. Hill showed up at the crime scene and pretended to be part of a "Russian task force" to draw information out of Miami-Dade police investigators. Again, he was found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and neglect of duty.

Just last week, a handwriting expert testified that Hill had forged Superville's signature on a form waiving his Miranda rights. "What I've read here is appalling," Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Cueto said. The murder case against Superville might be dropped altogether because of Hill's ethical lapses.

Rhett Fuller believes this behavior shows Hill would have been willing to illegally strong-arm him into pinning Maugeri's murder on Carlos Cuello in exchange for a deal. "I blame this whole situation today on Ed Hill," he says. "Obviously, the mistake to run in the first place is on my shoulders. But I trusted him, and I think this whole case today and the drive to bring me back to Miami comes from his being angry that I wouldn't help them with Maugeri's case."

Hill declined to talk about his internal affairs cases, but he laughs at Fuller's claims: "There's zero truth to that."

Fuller began talking to New Times in August, against his lawyer's and his family's wishes, for a simple reason: Twenty years of looking over his shoulder was killing him. He wanted Miami to know he's ready to come home — even if he thinks he's getting screwed.

The impetus for his decision came August 9, when the United Kingdom's Privy Council — a wig-wearing body of London judges who act as a kind of Supreme Court for former British colonies — rejected Fuller's last-ditch effort to escape his murder indictment.

"You can't keep on fighting forever," he says through a fuzzy phone connection from Belize. "Can you imagine for years waking up every morning wondering if they're coming to put you in jail again?"

In the eight-plus years he has been out on bail awaiting the high court's decision, Fuller has been alternately optimistic and dejected, ready to fight and struggling with alcohol and depression. His situation is all the worse because everyone else involved in Larry Miller's murder has already served time and moved on.

Alex Napolitano spent a little less than a decade in North Miami's minimum-security lockup; he was released in January 2000. He has rebuilt his life, working as a network engineer and living in a comfortable, middle-class home worth $125,000 in West Kendall.

Carlos Cuello, the gunman who ran with Rhett Fuller, is also free. After his girlfriend ratted him out in New York in 1995, he was convicted of first-degree murder in Dade court in 1998 and served ten years. He was released in 2008. It's not clear where he lives now.

Marisa Maugeri's murder isn't a mystery any longer, either. In 2006, prosecutors charged 32-year-old Thomas Pennington — a felon already serving a 15-year murder term — with her death. His case goes to trial this October.

And Ed Hill, the detective whom Fuller believes is trying to screw him, has served out his suspensions and is back on the beat.

On August 16, Fuller told New Times he'd turn himself in the next day at the moldy Belize jail. "My lawyer doesn't want me to go, but it's time," he said.

But then he changed his mind.

Fuller stopped answering the phone. In his last email, he had this to say: "My local lawyer... is advising me that he suggests we appeal to the minister, and if I lose the case, take it to judicial review, then the appeals court, and finally to the Caribbean Court of Justice. This can conceivably drag out for another eight to ten years."

On August 22, local police took him back into custody, and last week the foreign minister ruled that Fuller must return to Miami to face trial. Belize, unlike Brazil, has no constitutional barriers to sending its citizens abroad on criminal charges. Fuller has filed yet another appeal, which the local courts are supposed to rule on within 15 days.

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8 comments
Reddi
Reddi

What is also appalling in this case is Detective Ed Hill's numerous indiscretions and criminal actions. He has incurred suspensions and thats it??? He should have been fired from the department and charged criminally, but unfortunately he is back on the beat. How can he be trusted in any case which he is the investigating officer?

Joy4fold
Joy4fold

I can't believe 1st degree murder only gets you ten years in jail. This guy was there but the one who actually did the killing served 10 and is now free!!!

Rawknbetty
Rawknbetty

that story went on forever... it could have been a lot more interesting if shortened and not so wordy

J.R.
J.R.

What a scumbag. How typical of the new times to use the poetic "on the lam" instead of the more accurate "fugitive from justice". I think there should be more press coverege: all murderes and other criminals should be made aware that they can commit any crime they want, then live the rest of their lives in another country. The victim is still dead. This fugitive still lives - and has reproduced.

Craig29
Craig29

Great story!! So sad that a good kid made one dumb split decision mistake and ruined his life!! Great story!! Rhett has suffered enough!!

PaulyG
PaulyG

"One dumb split decision mistake"? He helped kill someone you worthless piece of shit. I hope someone makes "one dumb split decision mistake" and kills your dumbass today, you fucking idiot.

J.R.
J.R.

"rhett has suffered enough"? Is his victim still suffering?

dave chatt
dave chatt

Please sign this petition for the Federal Gov't. to try Casey Anthony~She made a MOCKERY of the State of Florida~ Push the Federal Government to review their options under the Dual Sovereignty Doctrine. President Obama will review it and respond after Oct. 22nd. https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/pe...

 
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