Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Florida double-murder trial expected to start

The trial of a teenager accused of shooting dead two Britons in Florida is to hear its first evidence today.

James Kouzaris, 24, of Northampton and his friend James Cooper, 25, were shot dead while on holiday in April last year.

After three days of jury selection Shawn Tyson, 17, will be tried for the murders.

The teenager has been charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder and faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted at the Sarasota court.

The men were staying in Longboat Key, 12 miles from the murder scene, and were out drinking in central Sarasota, but were found dead in the town's rundown Newtown area, 20 blocks away.

They had spent the night having dinner with Mr Cooper's parents, then bar-hopping, and planned to take a taxi home, but are believed to have walked into the impoverished area.

It remains unclear how they came to be in the housing project, known as The Courts, and why they walked instead of taking a cab.

Tyson, who lives in the area, was arrested a day after the killings.

The double murder was thought to have been a botched robbery - although the victims still had cash in their wallets, and a mobile phone and digital camera.

After three days of jury selection a jury panel of 12 people plus two alternates was selected and sworn in.

The 14-person panel includes nine women and five men, and two African Americans.

More on this story

  • Emotional scenes in court

    There've been emotional scenes in a courtroom in America where a teenager was jailed for life for killing two Britons.

  • Florida shootings: background

    James Kouzaris and James Cooper were killed in Sarasota, in the early hours of the morning. Andy Bevan traces their final journey.