By Brian Ellsworth and Kylie Madry
MIAMI (Reuters) -The United States on Monday charged a former Haitian senator with conspiring to kill Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the third suspect to be charged by the Department of Justice as the Caribbean nation’s own probe into the murder remains stalled.
John Joel Joseph, who Haitian police described as a suspect several days after the brazen murder last July, fled Haiti by boat and was arrested in Jamaica in January for entering the country illegally. He was later extradited to the United States.
Joseph faces charges of conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside of the United States and providing material support resulting in death, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.
U.S. prosecutors say the conspiracy first involved kidnapping Moise but evolved into an assassination plot after the group was unable to find a plane to take him out of Haiti.
Joseph “was present when a co-conspirator … secured the signature of a former Haitian judge on a written request for assistance to further the arrest and imprisonment of President Moise,” the news release said.
He also helped obtain vehicles and firearms to support the operation, it said.
The release identifies the suspect by the surname “John,” while Haitian authorities have said his last name is “Joseph.”
U.S. prosecutors in January filed similar charges against Rodolphe Jaar, a dual Haitian-Chilean citizen, and Mario Palacios, a former Colombian soldier who Haitian police said was part of a five-man team that entered Moise’s bedroom to gun him down.
Haiti’s judicial proceedings into the assassination have stalled, with four judges on the case quitting amid complaints about death threats and concerns for their personal security.
(Reporting by Kylie Madry and Brian Ellsworth; additional reporting by Gessika Thomas in Port-au-Prince, Editing by Marguerita Choy and Bill Berkrot)