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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

'Thunderman' Story Ends in a Miami Hospital: Aronow's Killer Dies

Twenty years ago it was the most commanding story in South Florida. Speedboat sultan Don Aronow found shot and killed execution style. Today, his murderer, dies quietly at Jackson Memorial. Today's story in the Herald by writers Jay Weaver and David Ovalle:

In 1987, hit man ''Bobby'' Young blew away speedboat mogul Don Aronow in his Mercedes sports car.

Young, paid $60,000 for the contract murder, achieved such notoriety for the gangland-style killing that it secured him a place in the pantheon of South Florida assassins.

On Tuesday, Young, 60, died at Jackson Memorial Hospital, apparently of natural causes, authorities said.

''He finally got what he deserved from a higher authority -- that death sentence he deserved,'' said retired Miami-Dade police Detective Greg Smith, lead investigator on the Aronow murder.
Miami-Dade police pursued the ambush slaying for six years, interviewing terrified witnesses and investigating a twisting path of coincidences, murders, mistresses, mobsters, dopers, spies, jealous boyfriends and snitches before finally stumbling upon Young.

''Robert was a cold-blooded killer. He was full of bravado, and very much into himself,'' said Assistant State Attorney Gary Winston, who put Young away for Aronow's slaying in 1995. ``He would love to talk and reveal the things he had done. Cold and heartless.''

He served his sentence for the Aronow murder in Oklahoma, at the same time he was incarcerated in federal prison for cocaine trafficking.

Young returned to South Florida in 2001, having fled Oklahoma while on parole. He was arrested in Broward County in October 2001 after his ex-brother-in-law gave federal agents his address. They found a revolver and $75,000 on him. Paid to kill again? The Herald story has more:

One of Broward's best and gutsiest advocates is quoted in the story:
''Bobby is not a rat,'' Young's lawyer, Kayo Morgan, said at the time. ``He is not a cheese-eater.''

Aronow, 59, a rich and handsome millionaire among the powerboat set, was killed Feb. 3, 1987, outside his USA Racing office at 3030 NE 188th St. -- a dead-end street dubbed Thunderboat Alley that he made famous with his Formula, Donzi, Magnum and Cigarette speed boats.

So fast were his boats that U.S. Customs agents commissioned Aronow to build an intercept vessel called Blue Thunder.

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