Florida suspect released hours before murders
Saturday 23 April 2011
A blunder by US prosecutors may have led to the release of the teenager charged with murdering two British holidaymakers in Florida last week, hours before he is alleged to have carried out the killings.
James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, were shot dead in the early hours of Saturday last week in a crime-ridden part of the Gulf Coast state described by police as a "no-go" area for tourists. Shawn Tyson, 16, has been charged with two counts of first-degree homicide.
The teenager was labelled "a danger to the community" by Chief Judge Lee Haworth at a court appearance on 8 April for an earlier gun charge, who recommended he stay in custody.
Mr Tyson was first arrested on 7 April for firing a gun at a car belonging to someone he had been involved in an altercation with. But Mr Tyson was then released on 15 April by Juvenile Judge Deno Economou, who was not aware of Haworth's concerns, at a hearing which was not attended by detectives familiar with the case as was requested by Haworth. At 3am the next morning Tyson is alleged to have shot and killed the two Britons.
"There's continuing potential escalation between these alleged victims," Chief Judge Haworth said during the hearing on 8 April.
He had recommended Tyson stay in custody "to help diffuse this situation", but particularly because of the danger a 16-year-old handling a firearm presented to the community. The "prosecutorial missteps and a series of communication problems" were cited by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper as leading to the release of Mr Tyson against the advice of the Chief Judge.
In a sign that prosecutors recognised the initial mistake, the aggravated assault charges relating to the first arrest on gun charges were filed again yesterday.
This time, Mr Tyson was charged as an adult for five counts of aggravated battery, meaning he will remain in an adult jail while he faces murder charges.
- 1 I was a Woman Against Feminism too
- 2 Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 3 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 The Tory donor whose firm is one of Britain’s biggest tax avoiders - with HMRC's blessing
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...
£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...