England

Shawn Tyson re-sentenced over tourist murders

Shawn Tyson Image copyright AP
Image caption Shawn Tyson was 16 when Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris were killed

A man has been re-sentenced for murdering two British tourists in Florida five years ago.

Shawn Tyson was found guilty of killing friends James Cooper, 25, of Hampton Lucy, Warwickshire, and James Kouzaris, 24, from Northampton, in April 2011.

Circuit Judge Charles E Roberts told the Florida court Tyson "killed in cold blood two men who posed no threat".

Tyson's earlier conviction was thrown out in 2014 because he was 16 when the crime was committed.

Sentencing Tyson to two life terms at Lynn N Silvertooth Judicial Center on 8 June, Mr Roberts said: "The defendant's motive was robbery, but when he realised he would not get what he wanted, he made the conscious decision to kill both victims."

In September 2014, the appeal court upheld Tyson's conviction but his sentence was thrown out because he was a juvenile when the crime was committed.

Image copyright Various
Image caption Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris were shot dead in downtown Sarasota in April 2011

Mr Roberts acknowledged there were special considerations when sentencing a juvenile on murder charges, but added: "On April 16, 2011, Shawn Tyson killed in cold blood two young men who posed no threat."

The killings impacted not only the victims' families but also the community, the judge said, stating that witnesses were afraid to assist with the investigation.

"This was not a spur-of-the-moment, one-shot event," Roberts said. "I have not been persuaded, based on everything I've heard, that he can be rehabilitated."

A spokesperson from Lynn N Silvertooth Judicial Center said law changes made by the Florida Supreme Court mean the "juvenile homicide offender cannot be sentenced to life without parole", so his case will be up for review after 25 years.

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