Jurors in the trial of a southwest Florida teen accused of killing two British tourists last year heard him on Friday make incriminating statements in a recorded jail phone call.
Prosecutors say the call is among the evidence proving that 17-year-old Shawn Tyson gunned down the two young men during a robbery in a Sarasota housing project in April.
"Somebody said that they seen me out there..." Tyson is heard saying in the garbled recording. "They said they found the bullets."
Prosecutors are trying to link Tyson to the shootings by showing he had a friend bury .22-caliber bullets in a yard. That was the same caliber of ammunition used to kill James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, early one morning in the crime-ridden Newtown neighborhood.
Defense attorneys contend there is no evidence linking Tyson to the bullets and that witnesses tying him to the scene are not credible.
One of Tyson's attorneys, Carolyn Schlemmer, cross-examining Sarasota police detective John Todd, got him to testify that no firearms were found during a search of Tyson's home and no fingerprints linked him to the slayings. Todd also testified that two witnesses were relocated from the housing project where the murders occurred in exchange for their testimony.
Schlemmer, during her opening statement Thursday, said that many of the people slated to testify against Tyson were either pressured by authorities, made deals with authorities in exchange for information on Tyson, or were unreliable drug users and convicted felons. Other witnesses lied to law enforcement, she said.
Todd also testified that although the murder victims had been characterized as robbery victims, a watch, camera, cell phone and $63 were found on Cooper's body, and $62 in cash was found on Kouzaris.
Tyson is being held at the Sarasota County Jail without bail. If convicted, he faces life in prison _ because he is 17, he cannot face the death penalty.
The two British men were dining and drinking in downtown Sarasota with Cooper's parents the night of April 15. The entire party was staying at a Longboat Key beach condo; Cooper's parents went back to the condo in a car and urged the two young men to take a cab back home.
The pair went to two bars and left on foot after several drinks. Shortly before 3 a.m., they ended up in the Newtown neighborhood more than a mile from downtown. It's unclear why the men ended up in the area. Witnesses said they saw Cooper and Kouzaris walking shirtless and stumbling through the neighborhood _ and that they were being followed by two men, one with a red bandanna around part of his face.