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Florida shooting: Tributes paid to "most amazing men" murdered by "evil" teen killerThe families of two British tourists killed by a teenager in Florida branded him evil as he was handed two life sentences. A hushed courtroom listened as emotional tributes were paid to the two British tourists shot dead by teenager Shawn Tyson. James Kouzaris, 24, and James Cooper, 25, were gunned down by Tyson after they drunkenly walked into a rundown public housing estate in Sarasota in the early hours of April 16 last year. Tyson showed no emotion throughout the trial, not even as his victims friends addressed him personally to describe their devastation at their brutal murders. The parents of Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper did not travel to Sarasota for Tysons trial, but friends Paul Davies and Joe Hallett sat through four days of evidence, including distressing photographs of their friends dead bodies. After his conviction the men had the opportunity to address directly the teenager who had declined to say anything in his own defence. When Judge Rick De Furia asked Tyson if he wanted to say anything before being sentenced, he mumbled

: No. Tragic loss: James Cooper went on holiday with family and friends but never came home (Image: PA) Tragedy: This photo of James Kouzaris was taken just hours before he was shot dead (Image: PA) Pals: James and James strayed into a high crime area Joe Hallett accused Tyson of taking everyone involved on a journey to hell during the past 12 months. You murdered two people who, if you had given them the chance, would have given you the time of day. Every night you go to sleep, every morning you wake up, I want you to think of my friends who you murdered. He added: I hope that you and your family suffer every single second of every single day, just as the loved ones of James Kouzaris and James Cooper do. For every painful detail of their deaths I have endured, for each disturbing photo I have been exposed to, I am still glad I have this opportunity to look into you eyes and try to explain the pain that you have caused. Mr Davies branded Tyson a coward, saying: You might think that being a man is about carrying a gun around but it isnt. Wearing a mask and shooting two guys in cold blood is being a coward. Area: The part of Sarasota, Florida where James and James were murdered (Image: Chris Bott) He added: For the past week Ive had to sit in this courtroom and watch photos of my two best friends lying on the ground, riddled with bullet holes. Ive had to listen to how you stalked them, made them beg for their lives and then unload a gun on them. Ive had to listen to all that knowing that they would never in a million years have threatened you or tried to hurt you. They wouldnt hurt anyone because, like I say, they were good men, the most amazing men you could have ever met. Maybe if you were more of a man that night you would have known them long enough to find that out for yourself. The court was played emotional videos featuring pictures of both men as they grew up, set to music. They also heard a statement from Mr Coopers family, read by prosecutor Karen Fraivillig, and watched a video of a statement by Mr Kouzariss father Peter, with his wife beside him. After the hearing, Ms Fraivillig hugged the two men, obviously moved by the hearing. The killer, who sports a tattoo of the word savage on his chest, will spend his life in prison without parole after being convicted of two counts of first degree murder. Tyson, who has just turned 17, avoided the death penalty because of his

age. The families of the two

friends expressed anger at the fact he was released from juvenile de

tention a day before he killed them. Tyson had been arrested on April 7 for shooting at a car, but because of an administrative error was released on April 15 to the care of his mother. Less than 24 hours later he had shot Mr Cooper, a tennis coach from Hampton Lucy, near Warwick, and Mr Kouzaris, a town planner from Northampton. Last moments: The victims in a bar on CCTV On a night out: But things went horribly wrong when they left Tears and tributes: The funeral of James Kouzaris In a statement, the families said: It is a fact that we were given a life sentence w

hen our sons were so brutally and needlessly taken from u

s. Ours is a life sentence, with no chance of parole from a broken heart, and a shattered soul. T

he agonising and searing pain we have experienced will continue until our sentence is

at an end. The evil of the killer is one thing, but the fact is, he would not have been on the streets had instructions to keep him incarcerated been passed from one judge to another. The court heard emotional statements from two friends, Joe Hallett and Paul Davies, and saw tribute videos made in memory of the two victims. Prosecutor Karen Fraivillig read a statement from Mr Coopers parents Stan and Sandy which said: Anyone who has lost a child will know there are no words which can express the despair, disbelief and desolation. We will miss h

im every minute of every day in a home that now feels empty. They described him as the fi

nest son any parent could dream of having. We have lost the c

ore, the heart, the light and the love of our lives, they said. Mr Hallett addressed Tyson personally, saying: It was through your deadly action that you have taken us all on a journey to hell during the last 12 months. He said the men were decent human beings, telling Tyson: They were two of the good guys in life. You pierced their hearts with b

ullets and you robbed my friends of their dignity, their freedom and their future. He added: You have failed in life - you have been failed by your family, your friends, the educational system, your local community. But those failings dont excuse your actions. Mr Davies, who had travelled with Mr Kouzaris and was due to move to London with Mr Cooper, said Tyson had robbed him of a best man. In a video played to the court, Mr Kouzariss father Pete, alongside wife Hazel, said: The 16th of April 2011 will be etched in the hearts and the memories of all those people who loved and had the privilege of loving James. Who could have imagined the tragic events that unfolded so cruelly? A question that I have asked myself so many times - why? He said: We have suffered and continue to suffer, and added that said his son had been needlessly taken from us in a moment of madness. It took the jury just under two hours to convict Tyson of two counts of murder in the first degree. If he had been 18 when he committed the murders he could have been given the death penalty. Before sentencing, he was asked by Judge Rick De Furia if he had anything to add, to which he replied simply: No. When Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper drunkenly walked into a housing project known as The Court, they were confronted by Tyson, who tried to rob them. When they had no money, he told them: Well, since you aint got no money, I got something for your ass. The men pleaded to go home, saying they were drunk, but the teenager, then 16, shot one then the other. When they were found, both still had their wallets and cash - Mr Cooper had 63.45 dollars and Mr Kouzaris had 62.05 dollars. After the case, Mr Hallett and Mr Davies also criticised the decision to release Tyson the day before the killings. Reading a statement on behalf of the families, they said: We would like to stress our horror at the events which led to the premature and irresponsible release of Shawn Tyson on April 15, 2011. Indeed, the events of April 16th would not have come to fruition without Mr Tysons wrongful release. They branded Tysons actions the most cowardly and perverse act of inhumanity imaginable, adding: We hope that one day he is able to show remorse for his actions and understand the severity and consequences of his crimes. Tysons mother Kenyatta Whitfield, who was in court, mouthed I love you Shawn to her son. The teenagers father Tyrone Tyson, 44, said outside court: To the Kouzaris and Cooper families, our deepest sympathies go out to them. Whatever I say will never bring their kids back to them. Today three families have been destroyed. Two will never see their kids again and one familys child has just lost his freedom for

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