Boy charged with Florida murders

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The Independent Online

A 16-year-old boy accused of gunning down two British tourists in Florida last month is to be tried as an adult for first-degree murder, police said tonight.

A grand jury has indicted Shawn Tyson on two adult counts of murder and, if convicted, he will receive life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, Sarasota Police Department said.

James Kouzaris, 24, of Northampton, and James Cooper, 25, of Hampton Lucy, near Warwick, were fatally shot in a rundown Sarasota neighbourhood on April 16. Tyson was arrested the next day.

The British pair had been on holiday together with Mr Cooper's parents in the upmarket island city of Longboat Key, about 12 miles from the murder scene.

They were pictured on CCTV footage in bars in downtown Sarasota around 90 minutes before they were murdered.

It is not clear how or why they made their way to the street 20 blocks away where they were found dead.

Tyson had reportedly been released from police custody hours before their deaths, despite a judge raising concerns that he posed a danger to the community.

He had appeared in court on charges that he fired gun shots into an occupied car in an unrelated crime earlier in the month.

The evidence against Tyson in the murder case has not been released, after a judge sealed the court document in which it is detailed.

Authorities say witnesses could be in danger and the investigation damaged if the information is made public.