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Court told of phone call by accused

A teenager accused of killing two British tourists made a phone call from prison saying police had found bullet casings which could "f*** him up", a court has heard.

In the call, Shawn Tyson said police had found bullet casings connected to the shooting of Britons James Kouzaris, 24, and James Cooper, 25.

The men 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 stumbled into a rundown public housing project known as The Courts.

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

The court heard a call made by Tyson from Sarasota County Jail which was recorded by police.

In the conversation, played to the jury, the then 16-year-old said: "Somebody say they saw me ... they say they found the bullets." Asked about the discovery, he replied: "It's the only thing that's going to f*** me up."

Earlier, Detective John Todd told the court there could have been a "thousand different reasons" why Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper were found with their trousers pulled down. But he said: "In this case, all the evidence pointed to an attempted robbery." Detective Anthony Defrancisco told the court he had seen 14 similar cases involving victims' trousers being pulled down.

The court also heard that Tyson told friend Marvin Gaines that he had killed Mr Kouzaris, from Northampton, and Mr Cooper, Hampton Lucy, Warwick.

Mr Todd, lead detective in the case, was asked by prosecutor Karen Fraivillig: "Did Marvin Gaines also say that Shawn Tyson told him, 'I killed those two guys, you know those two bodies back there, I did that'?" The detective said: "He said that Tyson escorted him into the apartment so that nobody else could hear and told him that he killed the two people at the back of the projects."

The court has heard that Mr Gaines told police Tyson had hidden the gun under his house then Mr Gaines had passed it to another friend. Mr Gaines later led police to seven bullet casings buried in his yard.


From Belfast Telegraph