Trial over murder of ex-city students

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TWO former Sheffield University students were shot dead after drunkenly walking into a rundown neighbourhood in a Florida city while on holiday, a court heard.

James Cooper, aged 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, were killed after they walked into Newtown in Sarasota in April last year.

Shawn Tyson, who turned 17 this week, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Assistant State Attorney Ed Brodsky, prosecuting, told the court that friends Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper were in the second week of a three-week holiday when they were gunned down.

They were found with their shirts off and their trousers around their thighs.

Mr Brodsky said residents heard between six and eight gunshots ring out on the night of the shooting.

When emergency services arrived they found the men, both dead, on either side of the road.

He said one witness saw the British pals walking through the suburb shirtless and staggering as though they were drunk.

He also saw two black men ‘crouching and watching them as they walked by’.

Another witness saw two black men standing in front of the former Sheffield students.

A witness who lived opposite Tyson described seeing the teenager jump into the window of his apartment shortly after the gunshots rang out.

The court heard Tyson had boasted to somebody about shooting the Britons, claiming he did it because they had no money he could rob from them.

The trial continues.