An American teenager jailed for life after killing James Cooper and James Kouzaris in 2011 has had his sentence overturned
Shawn Tyson, now 18, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of the murders of the two friends in Sarasota, Florida.
James Cooper, 25 from Hampton Lucy and James Kouzaris, 24 from Northampton, were shot dead when they drunkenly wandered into the rundown area of Newtown area while on holiday.
The murder conviction against Tyson was upheld by an appeal court, but his sentence was thrown out because he was 16 when the crime was committed.
A judge has ruled that because of his age at the time, Tyson’s sentence of life without parole must be re-assessed.
The case will now be heard by a lower court and a new sentence passed.
Judge Case said: “We must reverse his sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole...because Mr Tyson was sixteen years old when the crimes were committed.”
The Supreme Court held that a life sentence without parol for juvenile homicide offenders violates the eighth amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
It added: “We must therefore reverse Mr Tyson’s sentence and remand his case for a new sentencing hearing.”
Tyson, who was tried as an adult, was convicted of first-degree murder in March 2012.
James Cooper, who grew up in Kenilworth taught and played at the town tennis club and had been working as a full-time coach at Beechwood Tennis Club in Coventry for a year before his death.
Kenilworth was left stunned by his death and fundraisers have been held at the tennis club and by friends each year since to raise money in his memory.