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British tourists' killer 'to appeal conviction and sentence'

A teenager jailed for life for murdering two British tourists in Florida is appealing against his conviction and sentence, it has been reported.

Shawn Tyson received two life sentences last month after he was convicted of the murders of James Kouzaris, 24, and James Cooper, 25, in April 16 last year.

The Herald-Tribune has reported that the teenager's public defender Carolyn Schlemmer has named nearly a dozen grounds for the conviction to be challenged.

They are said to include the racial makeup of the jury, which included 11 white jurors and one black juror, as well as the decision by Judge Rick De Furia to allow evidence that Tyson threatened people with a gun a week before the murders.

Shawn Tyson, who murdered Britons James Cooper and James Kouzaris
Shawn Tyson, who murdered Britons James Cooper and James Kouzaris Credit: PA Wire

Mr Kouzaris, from Northampton, and Mr Cooper, from Hampton Lucy, near Warwick, were shot dead after they walked into a rundown public housing estate in Sarasota.

British tourists James Kouzaris, 24, and James Cooper were gunned down by a teenager in Sarasota
British tourists James Kouzaris, 24, and James Cooper were gunned down by a teenager in Sarasota Credit: PA Wire

James Cooper's family say Shawn Tyson deprived them of 'love of their lives'

Tyson tattoo
A tattoo on the chest of Shawn Tyson Credit: PA

The court heard a statement from Mr Cooper's parents which said they celebrated his 25th birthday just three days before he died and were in "despair, disbelief and desolation" at losing the "love of their lives".

"We will miss him every minute of every day in a home that now feels empty," they said.

James Kouzaris, James Cooper
Murder victims James Kouzaris, 24, (left) and James Cooper, 25, (right) Credit: PA

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Friend of murdered Britons tells Tyson he caused 'journey to hell'

Shawn Tyson
Shawn Tyson, who murdered Britons James Cooper and James Kouzaris Credit: PA

Addressing Tyson personally, Joe Hallett, a friend of James Kouzaris and James Cooper, said: "It was through your deadly action you have taken us all on a journey to hell.

"You pierced their hearts with bullets and you robbed my friends of their dignity, their freedom and their future."

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