BOSTON — A Virginia fisherman was sentenced Thursday to nearly 20 years in prison for murdering a crewmate and attacking others with a hammer aboard a scalloping vessel off the coast of Nantucket in 2018.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said 31-year-old Franklin Freddy Meave Vazquez was sentenced to 235 months — more than 19 and a half years — in prison followed by three years of probation.

According to the office, the Mexican national is in the U.S. illegally and will face deportation after his sentence.

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Meave Vazquez pleaded guilty in March to one count each of second degree murder, attempted murder and assault with a dangerous weapon.

He was one of seven crew members on the scalloping vessel The Captain Billy Haver when he attacked three fellow crewmates about 50 miles off the Nantucket coast in September 2018.

First, he struck one man in the head with a hammer inside the shucking house, before walking onto the deck and stabbing another victim multiple times with a long fishing knife.

Another man responding to the commotion climbed up from the ice hold, only to have Meave Vazquez strike him in the head with the hammer, causing him to fall back down with a bleeding head wound.

Meave Vazquez then blocked the ice hold door with heavy baskets of scallops to prevent the third victim and another crewmate from leaving.

Finally, he tried to stab the boat's captain, struggling with him before climbing to the top of the rigging with the hammer.

The first two victims were taken by a rescue boat to a nearby ship for medical treatment, but the stabbing victim was pronounced dead.

Meave Vazquez stayed atop the rigging until he was taken into custody by arriving Coast Guard crews, who took him to port in Boston and transferred him into federal custody the next day.

“This was a horrific act of workplace violence," U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said. "Today’s sentence, although it cannot erase the traumatic and pain caused to the families of the murder victim and the survivors of the brutal attack, I hope it brings some accountability."

“Meave Vazquez will now serve nearly 20 years behind bars, unable to endanger or harm any other people," she added. "I offer my condolences to the family of the murder victim and to the survivors and their loved ones.”

“This murder was senseless and horrific, and so were the other unprovoked, violent assaults Mr. Vazquez committed,” said Special Agent in Charge of FBI Boston Joseph Bonavolonta.

“There is no question today’s sentence is just, given the brutality and indifference to human life this man has demonstrated. Removing dangerous criminals from our streets, and our seas, is a top priority of FBI Boston’s Violent Crimes Task Force.”

Listen to audio of the mayday call from the Captain Billy Haver immediately after the incident:


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