September 29th, 2016

Florida murder teen’s sentence quashed

Updated: 4:19 pm, May 07, 2015

THE TEENAGER sentenced to life without parole for the double murder of James Cooper and his friend James Kouzaris has had his sentenced quashed.

Shawn Tyson shot dead 25 year-old Mr Cooper, from Hampton Lucy, and Mr Cooper, 24, from Northampton, after they strayed into a tourist no-go area of Sarasota, while holidaying in Florida, in April 2011.

Tyson, who was 16 at the time of the killings, was tried as an adult, and convicted of first-degree murder in March 2012.

He was given two life terms for the pre-meditated shooting of the friends.

An appeal court in the US has upheld his conviction, but his sentence was thrown out because he was a juvenile when the crime was committed.

The case will now be re-sentenced.

In his judgement, Associate Senior Judge James Case referred to a Supreme Court ruling which held mandatory life terms without parole for juveniles violated the US constitution’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual” punishment.

He said: “As the State concedes, we must reverse his sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole because Mr Tyson was 16 years-old when the crimes were committed.

“We must therefore reverse Mr Tyson’s sentence and remand his case for a new sentencing hearing.”

Tyson had been arrested a week before the murders for shooting at a car, but because of an administrative error was released on to the care of his mother. Less than 24 hours later he shot Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris.

The victims’ families voiced their anger after the trial at Tyson’s release from detention just a day before the killings.

Mr Cooper grew up in Kenilworth, where he attended Kenilworth School. He later moved with the family to Hampton Lucy, near Stratford.

After graduating from Sheffield University, the talented tennis player worked full time as a tennis coach for Inspire2coach, based at Warwick University but teaching tennis predominantly at Beechwood Tennis Club in Coventry and at Alcester Tennis Club.

He met Mr Kouzaris, a town planner, while at university.

Victim James Cooper. (s)

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