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Accused's friend to give evidence

A friend of the teenager accused of murdering two British tourists in Florida, who claims he told him he killed the men, is expected to give evidence at his trial.

Shawn Tyson is accused of the murders of James Kouzaris, 24, and James Cooper, 25, who were gunned down in the impoverished Newtown area of Sarasota, Florida, in April last year.

The friends, who were holidaying with Mr Cooper's family, drunkenly walked into a rundown public housing project known as The Courts. It is alleged Tyson tried to rob them in the early hours of April 16, 2011, then shot them several times when they said they had no money.

They were found shirtless with their trousers round their thighs, but both still had their wallets and a small amount of money on them.

Tyson's friend, Marvin Gaines, is expected to give evidence at the trial in Sarasota. The court has heard that Tyson told Mr Gaines he killed Mr Kouzaris, from Northampton, and Mr Cooper, from Hampton Lucy, Warwick.

He allegedly said: "I killed those two guys, you know those two bodies back there, I did that."

The court heard Mr Gaines also led police to seven bullet casings buried in his yard. Also expected to give evidence as part of the prosecution case are brothers Joshua, Jarius and Jermaine Bane, friends of Tyson's from The Courts.

Joshua Bane is said to have avoided 10 years in prison in exchange for his testimony.

Tyson, 17, denies two counts of first-degree murder. If convicted he faces life in jail without parole.

On Friday, his sister Samantha Huffman was arrested and charged with retaliating against a witness, reportedly in connection with comments she made on Facebook.


From Belfast Telegraph