Kouzaris and Cooper, both good friends, were intoxicated when they wandered into a high-rime section of Sarasota known as Newtown and encountered the Defendant. They were in the US on vacation with Cooper's parents at the time of the shooting.
Initially, Tyson demanded money from the two tourists, but when they had none, they were summarily shot and killed.
Defense attorneys said they would spend about an hour and a half presenting witnesses today. (March 28). Closing arguments in the trial are expected later in the day. Tyson told the judge on Tuesday (March 27) that he would not testify in his own defense.
It is unclear as to how Kouzaris and Cooper ended up in a high-crime housing project, although presumably they had simply gotten lost.
COMMENT: Several of Tyson's friends said the teenager shot and killed Cooper and Kouzaris even though they claimed to be lost and pleaded for their lives.
On Tuesday, Marvin Gaines, another friend of Tyson's, took the stand and said he hid the gun and shell casings used in the crime — at Tyson's request.
Prosecutors also called a woman to the stand who said she saw Tyson three times with the same gun that was used in the crime. She said Tyson threatened her with the gun nine days before the tourist killings.
On April 7, 2011, Tyson had three different altercations with a group of people in the housing project where they all lived. That's when he allegedly brandished the handgun that he used in the murders of the two Britons.
Interestingly, Tyson was arrested on felony weapons charges and released from a juvenile detention center on April 15, less than 24 hours before the two tourists were killed.
Tyson will face life in prison if convicted.
It is strongly recommended that all visitors to the US have local friends circle on a city map those areas with reputations as being high-risk, so that they can be avoided.
Additionally, considering that judgment is often impaired by excessive drinking, it is suggested that all visitors abroad drink in moderation, so they can avoid situations where they can be taken advantage of.