MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC)- Before they were killed last September inside their Saint Maarten home, Michael and Thelma King joined forces with island restaurant owner Topper Daboul and his wife, Melanie, to distribute Topper's Rhum in the United States.
According to a statement released exclusively to Live 5 News by the King family Sunday, since the murders, speculation has swirled the couple's investment in the rum business may have played a role in their deaths.
"While we are still not able to speak about the investigation or the trial, we do want people to know that the only reason we were able to move forward with Topper's Rhum is because, as a family, we are convinced that this is what Michael and Thelma would have wanted us to do, and we are one-hundred percent certain that the rum business had nothing to do with their deaths," said Todd King, the brother of the late Michael King , speaking on behalf of the family in a statement. "Our family remains very close friends with Topper and Melanie."
"We are also very appreciative to Topper and Melanie for having the strength, understanding and class to remain silent about the rum during the investigation of Michael and Thelma's deaths, even when some unsubstantiated rumors had, sadly, attempted to link their deaths to their rum business."
Earlier this month, the rum debuted on store shelves in South Carolina. It is expected to be sold in Georgia by April and then distributed nationwide.
Eventually proceeds from the rum sales will go toward creating an organization designed to help families who have suffered tragedies abroad.
In the statement released Sunday, the King family also applauded law enforcement and the prosecutors who have investigated the double murder case.
Three men have been arrested in connection to the King murders.
28-year-old Meyshane Johnson, 20-year-old Jamal Jefferson Woolford and 17-year-old Jeremiah Mills remain in custody. They are expected to go on trial in Saint Maarten April 9.