Killer of Sheffield University graduates in fight for freedom

James Kouzaris, 24
James Kouzaris, 24
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Friends and relatives of two Sheffield University graduates murdered on holiday in Florida face fresh anguish after their killer launched a bid for freedom.

James Cooper, 25 and James Kouzaris, 24, were gunned down in a botched robbery when they mistakenly walked into a rundown estate in the tourist resort of Sarasota after a night out.

James Cooper, 25

James Cooper, 25

Their killer, Shawn Tyson, who was 16 at the time but is now 19, was jailed for life without the possibility of parole after being convicted of first degree murder.

He plans to appeal his sentence and is expected to claim racism played a part in his conviction.

Tyson is black and 11 of the jurors who tried him were white.

Mr Kouzaris, from Northampton, studied Urban Studies and Planning in Sheffield.

Mr Cooper completed a management degree.

A friend of the Cooper family said: “We thought we had seen the last of this nasty piece of work and it just fills us with horror that he could get the conviction overturned.

“It is inconceivable that he will win the appeal. I don’t think the family of either man will be able to stand it.”

There were no witnesses to the murders.