Don Aronow Comments Offer a Wild Story of Their Own
Read this article if you are unfamiliar with the case
Three years ago, I wrote an article for this site on the murder of speedboat magnate Don Aronow. While the article itself is an interesting recap of the entire Aronow saga, the comments section is what makes this the most bizarre piece I’ve ever written. The comments range from people who did time with the accused killers to a mobster’s son to the niece of an alleged hitman. Each having their own theories and “inside scoop” as to what really happened that fateful day in February 1987. So the Aronow story on this site is now really two stories, as the comments have taken on a life of their own.
For those who have not perused the end of the article, here are some highlights of what’s been uncovered:
“BLUE THUNDER” ‘S REAL KILLER, FRANK SCHWEIHS
Frank Schwiehs, a reputed mafia hit man, apparently matches the composite witness sketch of the man who shot Aronow. A reader named “Taylor” cited Schweihs as the probable killer along with former NFL player Wayne Bock. Schweihs is also labeled the killer in “Blue Thunder,” a novel about the Aronow case. Schweihs sued the publisher of the book - from prison - for defamation of character and lost. He is currently appealing.
To that end, Redromchicago, offers up some interesting facts from the FBI…
A FBI agent, in 1989 found the Dark Blue Lincoln, it belonged to a man that lived in Fox Lake Illinois. He had loaned it to Frank Schweihs for several weeks. The agent talked to the owner of the car, who said Frank Schweihs borrowed the car a week before the murder. The FBI traced the car, which had been sold to a new owner in Indiana. The FBI talked to the new owner and took photo’s of it and showed several people that saw the shooting. The car was said, by the people that never were followed up by Metro Dade, to be the one that they saw. When I asked questions to the agent that took the photos of the car, he told me, “I can’t talk about that”.
BOBBY YOUNG MURDERED IN PRISON?
Bobby Young’s former brother-in-law – going by the handle “No Name” - reports that Bobby Young died in prison of natural causes in March 2009. Young had gotten out of prison for Aronow’s murder in the late-90s, and then put back in.
Bobby Young was apparently writing a book while he was in prison about the Aronow case, and a movie was also in the works. Noname, among others, thinks this is why he was ultimately killed. Some of Young’s friends from prison also wonder why he got beat up by a fellow inmate while a guard watched, since he was apparently well-liked among inmates.
A reader claiming to be John Panzavecchia, the son of a mobster by the same name who Young killed in 1984, joins the discussion to point out that, innocent or guilty, Bobby Young is still scum. He rips everyone who stands up for Bobby Young for taking the rap for the crime and not being a “snitch.”
ARONOW CHEATING BOTH COPS AND SMUGGLERS
“Smugglers cove” offers up a theory that “Aronow built fast boats for smugglers, then faster boats for the gov’t, then faster boats for the smugglers, then faster boats for the smugglers. Someone just got tired of having to pay a monthly fee to don for the faster of the boats. It was rumored that with his arrangement with the gov’t, he would put tracking devices on the smugglers and get a payout from the gov’t for the bust when he tracked the boat from the Bahamas or mother ships off-coast.”
“Fountain Designer” concurs that “Aronow had agreed to ‘glass in’ special transducers or the like to allow boats sold to suspected drug runners to be tracked by the Fed’s. The theory here is that once the drug lords got wind of this they had Aronow’s card pulled.”
VICTIM OF AN AMERICAN DYNASTY?
Many references are made to the Bush family’s ties to Don Aronow. Redfromchicago wonders why Bobby Young got such a good deal for confessing to premeditated murder. The fact that Bush Sr. was Vice President, and the DEA was upset when Aronow sold the Blue Thunder operation to a rival builder is pointed out.
Another smuggler named Tommy Teagle suggests the Aronow and former Florida governor Jeb Bush were involved in a smuggling ring.
A link to an unauthorized Bush biography is also posted by “noname” that implicated Aronow in the Iran-Contra scandal and Bush’s phony “war on drugs.”
Another commenter suggests the Bush family has kept a mainstream Aronow movie from coming out.
There are countless other comments at the end, with tales of reckless speedboating and reminiscences of an era gone by. My personal favorite is the guy who talks about staying up all night doing coke and then going lobstering out near Stiltsville, but those comments could make for a novel if they really wanted to.
RAKONTUR TACKLES ANOTHER 80S ICON
Many commenters on the Aronow story were calling for some sort of movie to be made about this saga. And, not surprisingly, Billy Corben, Alfred Spellman, and the Rakontur gang are deep in the process of putting one together. The makers of “Cocaine Cowboys” and “The U” are currently in the process of taking on another of Miami’s iconic aspects of the 1980s and chronicling this case. The yet-untitled Don Aronow project is currently in production and a release date was unavailable.
When I learned that Rakontur was going to be doing a movie on the Aronow murder, I thought maybe their production staff would be interested in some of the lunacy being thrown around in the comments section of my article . And while the comments of this article didn’t offer anything of use, Director Lindsey Snell set the record straight on some of the claims that the readers made.
Frank Schwiehs and “his” Lincoln:
John Panzavecchia and the Dixie Mafia:“Dixie Mafia was, in the 60s and 70s, a group of good ol’ boy criminals in the Southeast. There was sort of a resurgence of people, like Panzavecchia, wanting to bring back the old Dixie Mafia in the 80s. They weren’t ‘real’ Dixie Mafia. They were pushers and junkies. The coincidence? Bobby Young was in Cuba with a man named Jerry Jacoby, the name that was given by the man who walked into Aronow’s office prior to the murder.”
On the possible Bush connections to the murder:“If anything the Bush aspect is over reported; the only significance he had in this case was the pressure he and the feds put on Miami-Dade police to close this case, which led them to overlook the logical conclusions and go after Kramer.” Snell added she could not find a source to back up any hint of Bush family involvement.
So it seems that, much like the JFK assassination, there are a lot of holes in the official story, and a lot of very probable alternative theories. But, at the end of the day, the police have their official story of whodunit, and they are sticking to it. Despite all the claims otherwise, and despite the forthcoming movie, we will probably never really know who shot Don Aronow. But trying to figure it out sure is a lot of fun.
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"Don Aronow Comments Offer a Wild Story of Their Own"