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article imageShawn Tyson convicted of double murder in Florida

By Alexander Baron     Mar 28, 2012 in Crime
Sarasota - With America's attention focused on the Trayvon Martin case in Florida, a double murder by a youth two years younger than him has been in the news in Britain.
Whatever rumours are flying around about the tragic 18 year old Trayvon Martin, no one has yet accused him of carrying a gun, at least not on the night he died. Last April, a youth two years younger than him was carrying a gun, and he used it to murder two young men in cold blood. British tourists 25 year old James Cooper and 24 year old James Kouzaris were friends from university. Like Trayvon, they made the mistake of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but unlike his admitted killer, George Zimmerman, there was no question of their looking or acting suspicious.
Tyson, now 17, was tried as an adult, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Two friends of the victims made impact statements on his conviction. The scandalous thing about this case is that Tyson had been arrested and released after another shooting incident only hours earlier. The motive for the double murder was robbery, although Tyson appears to have got nothing from his victims.
According to one report, after three days of jury selection, not one juror had been seated; there was initially a pool of 150 prospective jurors (120 according to another report) , which by that time had been whittled down to 76. In Britain, jury selection for a trial of this nature would probably take a morning at the very outside.
According to another report, there was an atmosphere of intimidation in the courtroom; one witness was threatened on Facebook, an action which is said to have led to an arrest. Two friends/acquaintances of Tyson testified against him as part of a plea bargain. Another witness, a woman, testified that he had been involved in a shooting earlier that month.
In spite of his youth, Tyson is obviously an extremely dangerous individual with little or no regard for human life. Thankfully, he won't be shooting anyone again for a very long time.
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