Virus found in Iowa hog population, possibly beyond Posted May. 17th, 2013 by Reuters
WASHINGTON, May 17 (Reuters) – Cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PEDV), a virus associated with diarrhea, vomiting and dehyrdation in hogs, has been found in Iowa and possibly beyond, U.S. government and private industry officials said on Friday.
The outbreak, the severity of which is not yet known, is believed to be the first of PEDV in the western hemisphere, although the virus exists in much of the world.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories has detected the virus in the Iowa hog population, a USDA spokesperson said.
Cindy Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Pork Board in Des Moines, Iowa, said: “It may be a little bit more widespread than just with Iowa at this point … we’re still trying to understand that and determine where it all is.”
Hog futures in Chicago fell sharply on Friday as rumours swirled the disease had been detected in Iowa, the largest U.S. producing state, and Minnesota.
PEDV is not a food safety concern and does not affect humans, the USDA spokesperson said.
Officials with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service held a call with livestock industry representatives on Friday to discuss the situation. There are currently no interstate trade restrictions related to PEDV for U.S. hogs and pigs.
PEDV has been seen in England, much of Europe, China, Taiwan and South Korea, according to Iowa State University. It closely resembles transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) in swine.
“We don’t know the orientation of this particular disease (PEDV) and how it first got here to the United States,” Cunningham said.
Tom Burkgren, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, said his group was getting “conflicting reports” on how the virus might have arrived.
There is no effective treatment for the virus other than good care and the provision of adequate water to combat dehydration, according to the university. Sanitary and quarantine measures can help to slow the spread of the virus.
“All ages of the swine can be affected. But the most severe clinical signs are seen in the very young and nursing baby pigs, the baby pigs that are still nursing,” said Burkgren.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri May 17, 2013 6:08 pm
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Kermit Gosnell trial: Philadelphia abortion doctor guilty of murdering three infants in late-term abortions; cleared in 4th baby’s death
The jury will return Tuesday to hear evidence on whether Gosnell should get the death penalty.
YONG KIM / AP
Dr. Kermit Gosnell faces the possibility of the death penalty after he was found guilty of murdering infants in late-term abortions.
By: Reuters Published on Mon May 13 2013
PHILADELPHIA—A Philadelphia abortion doctor was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder and could face execution in the deaths of three babies who authorities say were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his grimy clinic, in a case that became a flashpoint in America’s debate over abortion.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was cleared in the death of a fourth baby, who prosecutors say let out a soft whimper before he snipped its neck.
Gosnell was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the drug-overdose death of a patient who had undergone an abortion.
The jury will return Tuesday to hear evidence on whether Gosnell should get the death penalty.
Former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal late-term abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants “snipped” the newborns’ spines, as he referred to it.
“Are you human?” prosecutor Ed Cameron snarled during closing arguments as Gosnell sat calmly at the defence table. “To med these women up and stick knives in the backs of babies?”
The grisly details came out more than two years ago during an investigation of prescription drug trafficking at Gosnell’s clinic in an impoverished section of West Philadelphia.
Authorities said the clinic was a foul-smelling “house of horrors” with bags and bottles of stored fetuses, including jars of severed feet, along with bloodstained furniture, dirty medical instruments, and cats roaming the premises.
Pennsylvania authorities had failed to conduct routine inspections of all of its abortion clinics for 15 years by the time Gosnell’s facility was raided and closed down. In the scandal’s aftermath, two top state health department officials were fired, and Pennsylvania imposed tougher rules for clinics.
Four former clinic employees have pleaded guilty to murder and four more to other charges. They include Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, a cosmetologist who helped perform abortions.
Both sides of the abortion divide seized on the case. Abortion foes said it exposed the true nature of abortion in all its disturbing detail. Abortion rights activists warned that Gosnell’s rogue practice foreshadows what poor and desperate young women could face if abortion is driven underground with more restrictive laws.
Midway through the six-week trial, anti-abortion activists accused the mainstream media of ignoring the case because it reflected badly on the abortion rights cause. Major news organizations denied the allegation, though a number promptly sent reporters to cover the trial.
After prosecutors rested their case, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart threw out for lack of evidence three of seven murder counts involving aborted fetuses. That left the jury to weigh charges involving fetuses identified as Baby A, Baby C, Baby D and Baby E.
Prosecution experts said one was nearly 30 weeks along when it was aborted, and it was so big that Gosnell allegedly joked it could “walk to the bus.” A second fetus was said to be alive for some 20 minutes before a clinic worker snipped its neck. A third was born in a toilet and was moving before another clinic employee grabbed it and severed its spinal cord, according to testimony. Baby E let out a soft whimper before Gosnell cut its neck, the jury was told; Gosnell was acquitted in that baby’s death.
Gosnell’s attorney, Jack McMahon, argued that none of the fetuses was born alive and that any movements were posthumous twitching or spasms.
He also contended that the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, a Bhutanese immigrant who had been given repeated doses of Demerol and other powerful drugs to sedate her and induce labour, was caused by unforeseen complications.
Gosnell did not testify, and his lawyer called no witnesses in his defence. But McMahon argued that the doctor provided desperate young woman with “a solution to their problems,” and he branded prosecutors “elitist” and “racist” for pursuing his client, who is black and whose patients were mostly poor minorities.
“We know why he was targeted,” McMahon said.
Prosecutors described Gosnell’s employees as nearly as desperate as the patients. Some had little or no medical training, and at least one was a teenager still in high school. One woman needed the work to support her children after her husband’s murder.
Gosnell still faces federal drug charges. Authorities said that he ranked third in the state for OxyContin prescriptions and that he left blank prescription pads at his office and let staff members make them out to cash-paying patients.
He performed thousands of abortions over a 30-year career. Authorities said the medical practice alone netted him about $1.8 million a year, much of it in cash. Authorities found $250,000 hidden in a bedroom when they searched his house. Gosnell also owned a beach home and several rental properties.
“He created an assembly line with no regard for these women whatsoever,” Cameron said. “And he made money doing that.”
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon May 13, 2013 4:10 pm
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That’s $7.3 million from the pocket of the US taxpayer to build a brand new ghost town on the Afghanistan frontier.
Some contractor built that facility. Our military no doubt guarded it while it was being built. That additional cost is probably not even factored into the $7.3 MM. Yet the base now sits empty.
I sure hope none of our soldiers died or were maimed while guarding the construction.
In a recent post we noted that more foreign aid flows into Afghanistan than any other country. Part of that aid appears to be going to build “ghost bases.” Sadly the rest of it probably goes to even worse causes.
Afghanistan has worked out for us about as well as it worked out for the Greeks, Brits, and Soviets. Time to get gone.
The post More War Waste: $7.3 million camp for Afghan police found nearly empty appeared first on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org.
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Horse meat in Tesco burgers: Supermarket apologises after food watchdog’s findings
Scientific tests on some beef products found low levels of horse DNA
However one offering from Tesco’s Value range had 29% horse meat
Retailers have told food safety chiefs they are removing the products
Horse also found in Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Aldi beef products
By SEAN POULTER
PUBLISHED: 20:15 GMT, 15 January 2013 | UPDATED: 01:10 GMT, 16 January 2013
Beefburgers sold by Tesco and other supermarkets have been found to contain horse meat, it emerged last night.
Tests on products from four chains showed a third were contaminated.
Most revealed only small traces but in one Tesco offering 29 per cent of the ‘beef’ content was actually horse meat.
Discovery: The DNA tests found horse in Tesco Everyday Value Beef Burgers
Last night, Tesco issued an apology and said the suspect burgers had been withdrawn. It is likely however that thousands have been eaten, with many more still stored in home freezers.
The highest level of horse meat was found in the chain’s Everyday Value beefburgers but traces were also detected in its frozen quarter pounders.
The revelations emerged following checks by Irish food safety experts.
The affected burgers were made at two sites in Ireland and one in North Yorkshire owned by Dalepak Foods.
Tesco confirmed the burgers had been on sale in the UK. Iceland said it has ‘withdrawn from sale the two own-brand quarter pounder burger lines implicated in the study’.
Other products that tested positive for horse DNA included Aldi’s Oakhurst Beef Burgers and Lidl’s Moordale Beef Burgers.
The retailers have told food safety chiefs they are removing all implicated products from their shelves
Aldi said its product was on sale only in Ireland and had been withdrawn.
The DNA tests on 27 burgers showed very low levels of horse meat in nine and a much higher level in Tesco’s value product.
Traces were also detected in batches of raw ingredients, including some imported from The Netherlands and Spain.
It is not illegal to buy or sell horse meat in the UK, but it is illegal not to declare every ingredient on food labels.
Tim Smith, Tesco’s technical director and a former head of the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘We immediately withdrew from sale all products from the supplier in question.
‘We are working with the authorities in Ireland and the UK, and with the supplier concerned, to urgently understand how this has happened and how to ensure it does not happen again.’
Tesco has stopped taking any products from the factory involved until the investigation has been completed.
Mr Smith added: ‘The safety and quality of our food is of the highest importance to Tesco. We will not tolerate any compromise in the quality of the food we sell.
‘The presence of illegal meat in our products is extremely serious. Our customers have the right to expect that food they buy is produced to the highest standards.
Tests: A Tesco spokeswoman said they were treating the incident as extremely serious after horse meat was found in its products
‘We understand that many of our customers will be concerned by this news and we apologise sincerely for any distress.’
Barry Gardiner, who sits on the Commons food, environment and rural affairs committee, called for an immediate inquiry.
The Labour MP said it looked as if there had been ‘fraud, misrepresentation and incompetence’ at the highest levels.
‘Big companies like Iceland and Tesco are responsible for their supply chain and for verifying whether their suppliers are giving them what they should be delivered,’ he added. ‘It is abhorrent that the suppliers appear to have adulterated the burgers in this way, but these big companies’ buyers are responsible to the public.
Aldi said it was conducting its own investigation
‘You expect what is on the label is what you get, and a beef burger is not a horse burger. Most people would be horrified to find they have been eating horse.’
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland, which carried out the tests, is working with the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the processing plants and retailers involved.
Professor Alan Reilly, chief executive of the FSAI, said there was no good explanation for the inclusion of horse meat in the burgers. He said the use of pig meat would also be upsetting for religious groups such as Muslims and Jews.
‘The products we have identified as containing horse DNA and/or pig DNA do not pose any food safety risk and consumers should not be worried,’ he added. ‘Consumers who have purchased any of the implicated products can return them.
‘Whilst there is a plausible explanation for the presence of pig DNA in these products due to the fact that meat from different animals is processed in the same meat plants, there is no clear explanation at this time for the presence of horse DNA in products emanating from meat plants that do not use horse meat in their production process.
‘We are working with the meat processing plants the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine to find out how horse DNA could have found its way into these products.
‘Likewise, for some religious groups or people who abstain from eating pig meat, the presence of traces of pig DNA is unacceptable.’
Lidl said it had taken the decision to remove all implicated products from sale pending a full investigation. ‘A refund will be provided to customers who wish to return affected products,’ said a spokesman.
No one from Dalepak could comment.
Marks & Spencer ‘Simply M&S beefburgers’ were the only brand found by the FSAI to contain neither pork nor horse and were 100 per cent beef.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:15 pm
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Black Hole Found, 17 Billion Times as Massive as Sun
You would probably not enjoy the galaxy NGC 1277. Never mind that it’s far — 220 million light-years away in the constellation Perseus. The problem is that at its center is a giant, giant black hole, 17 billion times as massive as our sun, so big that scientists calculate it makes up 59 percent of the mass of the galaxy’s disc.
Astrophysicists have long believed that there’s a black hole at the center of our Milky Way, but it probably accounts for something like 0.1 percent of the galaxy’s center. The one in NGC 1277, scientists report in today’s edition of the journal Nature, is the second largest they’ve ever observed, and it upends what they thought about how galaxies form.
Black holes, as you’ll recall, are objects in space so massive that their gravity consumes everything around them — stars, planets, matter, energy, even light. Earthly scientists can only observe their effect on the space around them, not see them directly. Be grateful we’re not close to one. They’re actually useful to astrophysicists in explaining the nice spiral shape of many galaxies — you need something massive in the middle for the stars to circle — but NGC 1277 is an extreme.
“This is a really oddball galaxy,” said Karl Gebhardt of the University of Texas at Austin, a member of the team that made the find. “It’s almost all black hole. This could be the first object in a new class of galaxy-black hole systems.” Gebhardt and colleagues at the McDonald Observatory have been calculating the mass of different black holes — no small task considering their powerful gravity.
The researchers put together an animation of how stars in that distant galaxy would behave, whipping around the center to avoid falling in.
What would you see if you lived on a habitable planet in that far-away galaxy and could look toward the center? Probably nothing that makes sense to human eyes. Black holes have such powerful gravity that they distort the space around them.
Here’s hoping your planet is in a nice, stable orbit around a star far from the action. If not, you might be drawn right into the black hole, destroyed so quickly that –
SHOWS: World News
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:47 am
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1.5 Billion Barrels of Oil Found in Ohio
By Brian Hicks | Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
Last week, the Wealth Daily office received this email from Jane Birkenstock (I’m not joking about the name):
Please forward to your CEO.
Why don’t you promote an industry that doesn’t destroy the environment and doesn’t pollute the water supply?
Promoting the fracking industry identifies your company as a member of the 1% that will do anything to make a profit including destroying the water supply that everyone needs just to survive.
One of the 99%
You think she pollutes her lungs doing mad bong hits?
Ah, yes, one person’s pollution is another’s nirvana.
But let’s get down to brass tacks: Had Ms. Birkenstock done a little digging, she would’ve discovered that a few years ago, this company published a book titled, Investing in Renewable Energy: Making Money on Green Chip Stocks.
That’s an inconvenient fact.
And extreme environmentalists never let facts get in the way of their agenda — or their happiness.
Ever notice how these people are always pissed off, pessimistic, and depressed?
There’s so much oppression in the world!
But here’s some good news for Ms. Birkenstock…
Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said drinking water is safe to consume in a small Pennsylvania town that has attracted national attention after residents complained about hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
The EPA recently completed testing water at 61 homes in Dimock, Pennsylvania, in the Marcellus Shale region, where residents have complained since 2009 of cloudy, foul-smelling water.
Dimock became popular after amateur film-maker Josh Fox released the documentary Gasland, which highlights footage of residents who were able to light their tap water on fire just by holding a flame next to a running spigot.
It should be noted that methane has been found seeping to the surface in parts of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania since the late 1790s.
According to historical records of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania:
Early reports from those who settled the area indicate that plenty of methane (in addition to brine) found its way up to the surface as well — so much methane, in fact, that records suggest the water was flammable dating as far back as 1795.
Susquehanna County isn’t the only place in the Marcellus where this has been occurring for centuries…
William Hart is credited with drilling the world’s first natural gas well in 1825 in Fredonia, New York. (Fredonia is about a four-hour drive northwest from Susquehanna County.)
Drilling a well 27 feet deep into shallow shale rock, Hart struck gas.
How did he know where to drill?
He listened to the Indians, who identified a place known as "Burning Creek" where methane had been bubbling up and igniting for decades.
I doubt any of this will change the minds of the anti-fracking crowd. They’re true believers.
As I’ve said many times before, if God Himself came down from the heavens and declared fracking safe — and that it would be done in the future using fairy dust, unicorns and rainbows — the environmentalists would accuse Him of being bought off by the fossil fuel industry.
But we need not wait for divine intervention…
Next to Pennsylvania is Ohio, where the Utica Shale exists.
Last week it was announced that a new and safer method of fracking will be tested on two wells in the Utica region in Ohio by the end of this month.
If this method works in the Utica, it will be a game-changer.
You see, a recent report by state geologists released some mind-blowing estimates on the Utica Shale in the Buckeye State.
If we are to assume that the Utica Shale play in Ohio holds one-third of its volume in natural gas and two-thirds of its volume in crude oil, recovering just 1.2% of these hydrocarbons would result in 3.75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.31 billion barrels of oil.
If we increase the recoverable rate up to 5%, the estimated recovery jumps to 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 5.5 billion barrels of oil.
So we could be looking at another Bakken-type play — that’s how significant this is.
And it all hinges on one tiny company’s revolutionary new fracking technology.
In fact, many in the industry are calling it everything from a “magic frack” to the “key to America’s energy independence.”
I’m calling it “Fracking 2.0.”
And deservedly so. This fracking company’s drilling technology is so superior to current drilling methods, it produces between 50 and 80 percent more oil and gas than a conventionally-fracked well.
It produces so much more oil and gas from wells, in fact, that many of North America’s major oil and gas companies have partnered with this company for rights to use their drilling technology.
This is the future of shale drilling — period.
That’s why this company’s drilling method received the Technological Innovator of the Year Award for 2011.
I’ll have a full report on this emerging situation in the coming days. Be on the lookout for it.
The original bull on America,
Brian is a founding member and President of Angel Publishing and investment director for the income and dividend newsletter The Wealth Advisory. He writes about general investment strategies for Wealth Daily, Energy & Capital and the H & L Market Report. Known as the "original bull on America," Brian is also the author of the 2008 book, Profit from the Peak: The End of Oil and the Greatest Investment Event of the Century. In addition to writing about the economy, investments and politics, Brian is also a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox and countless radio shows. For more on Brian, take a look at his editor’s page.
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Tue May 22, 2012 1:49 pm
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‘They said they found the bullets… that’s what could f*** me up’: What teen accused of gunning down two British tourists in Florida told brother in prison phone call
Shawn Tyson, 17, accused of murdering two holidaymakers in April 2011
James Cooper, 25, and James Kouzaris, 24, found shot dead in street
Men ‘begged shooter to let them go’ as they tried to return home
Tyson’s DNA found on Mr Cooper’s jeans, court hears
By PAUL THOMPSON
PUBLISHED: 15:56 GMT, 22 March 2012 | UPDATED: 02:55 GMT, 24 March 2012
Accused: Shawn Tyson is alleged to have gunned down two British tourists
The teenager on trial for killing two British tourists in Florida admitted he was worried he would be tied to the murders after police found bullets in his home, a court heard today.
Shawn Tyson was recorded on a phone call from prison to his half brother saying: They said they found the bullets. That’s what I’m saying could f*** me up’.
He made the call the day after he was held for the murders of James Cooper and James Kouzaris.
The alleged killer is said to have murdered the pair after they drunkenly stumbled into the rundown Newtown neighbourhood of Sarasota.
He allegedly forced the terrified pair to pull down their trousers before firing a volley of shots.
Tyson is accused of going to rob the best friends in April 2011, and then killing them when they said they did not have any money.
A court in Sarasota heard that when police searched his home they found two .22 bullets on his bedroom floor. Cooper, 25, and Kouzaris, 24, were shot dead by bullets fired from a .22 revolver.
Prosecutors in Sarasota have told the court the then 16-year-old was known to carry that type of weapon. In the call played to the jury at the Sarasota County Courthouse Tyson also told his brother: ‘Somebody said that they seen me out there or some sh**.’
Evidence: The .22 calibre shell casings allegedly found buried near the murder scene
Best buddies: James Kouzaris (right) and James Cooper (left) became friends after meeting at university
TYSON’S PRISON PHONE CALL
Shawn Tyson called his half brother from prison saying police had found bullet casings connected to the shooting, the Florida courtroom heard today.
Here is Tyson’s recorded telephone conversation with his half brother, who has not been named, from Sarasota County Jail:
Tyson: ‘What’s up, bro?’
Brother: ‘What’s up, lil’ man?’
Brother: ‘What them crackers talkin’ about?’
Tyson: ‘S***. I don’t even know right now. I don’t know why they talkin’ about.’
Brother: ‘Yeah, I don’t know what them crackers talkin’ about. S***, like. You was in the house, like.’
Tyson: ‘I know… that’s what I keep on… these crackers talkin’ about that somebody say they seen me out there or some s***.’
Brother: ‘Them crackers trippin’, man.’
Tyson: ‘Hell yeah.’
Brother: ‘S***, you’re chate, through. You know what I’m sayin’ like? You ain’t got no guns or nothin’. Like f*** them crackers talkin’ about.’
Tyson: ‘Only thing is, they found the bullets, though.’
Tyson: ‘They found the bullets.’
Brother: ‘Oh. Damn!’
Tyson: ‘That’s the only thing that’s gonna f*** me up.’
Brother: ‘They found them in the house?’
Tyson, who has the word ‘savage’ tattooed on his chest, has denied any involvement in the murders. He faces life in prison with no parole if found guilty of the two first-degree murder.
Prosecutors have said the bullets used to kill Cooper, from Warwicks, and Kouzaris, from Northampton, can be traced back to Tyson.
As well as the live .22 bullets found at his home they have told the jury the teenager asked friends to get rid of the murder weapon. The gun was later sold and had never been recovered.
But police were led to seven spent shell casings that are of the same calibre as those used in the murders.
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Defence lawyers have said Tyson’s fingerprints were not found on any of the bullets and witnesses who cooperated with police had made deals to avoid lengthy prison sentences.
She said the two brothers who were involved in the disposal of the murder weapon were liars with lengthy criminal records.
Earlier, Detective John Todd told the jury of nine men and five men that a witness in the case Marvin Gaines had told police Tyson had admitted to the killings.
Tyson, who turned 17 on the opening day of the trial, is also said to have bragged about the murders to his friend Latrice Washington.
Prosecutors told the jury he told her that the British tourists pleaded for their lives but he shot them when they said they had no money.
The court had heard Cooper, from Warwick and Kouzaris, from Northampton, were found dead with their trousers half way down their bodies.
Detective John Todd said the only reason the men were found that was because they were victims of a robbery.
Asked by prosecutor Karen Fraivillig why the men’s trousers were pulled down he said: ‘In this case all the evidence points to an attempted robbery.’
A court in Sarasota, Florida, has been shown graphic crime scene photos of the two men after they were shot dead last April while on holiday in the town.
Digital: A rendering of the crime scene shown during the testimony in the Shawn Tyson murder trial
Prosecutors say Shawn Tyson forced to men to strip off after ambushing them as they stumbled through a run down housing estate in the Newtown area of the city.
Todd’s insistence that both men were forced to drop their trousers as part of the robbery came after Tyson’s lawyer Carolyn Schlemmer said there were a ‘thousand reasons’ why the men were found semi naked.
‘There could be a thousand different reasons for which pants are down, correct?’ Schlemmer asked Todd, the lead detective in the murder investigation. Schlemmer pointed out that nothing had been taken from the victims, who still had a digital camera and about £80 in cash on them.
‘You are not aware of anything haven been taken from Kouzaris and cooper?’ Schlemmer asked.
Both men had been shot multiple times with their personal possessions, including wallets and mobile phones, scattered on the ground.
The final picture: James Kouzaris photographed earlier on in the night that he was killed in the notorious district of Newtown
CCTV: These images show the pair drinking in a bar shortly before they were both killed
Victim: James Cooper pictured having fun in a bar just hours before he was gunned down alongside his friend
Tyson faces life in jail without parole if found guilty of first-degree murder. Prosecutors have told a jury Tyson lay in wait for Cooper, 25,and Kouzaris, 24, as they stumbled drunk through The Courts housing project after getting lost.
Both men pleaded for their lives but were shot multiple times as they attempted to flee from Tyson and another man who has never been caught.
Eyewitnesses have placed Tyson at the scene of the shooting and a trace of Tyson’s DNA was found on Cooper’s jeans.
Yesterday the court heard how the two British holidaymakers were dining and drinking in the city’s downtown with Cooper’s parents on 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.
But shortly before 3am, they ended up in a crime-ridden neighbourhood more than a mile from the bars. Witnesses said they saw Cooper and Kouzaris walking shirtless and stumbling through the neighbourhood.
They also reported that they were being followed by two black men, one with a red bandanna around part of his face.
Prosecutor Ed Brodsky said Tyson told a friend that the men were lost and that he then tried to rob them. The tourists told Tyson they did not have any money and pleaded for their lives.
Brodsky said Tyson told his friend: ‘Since you ain’t got no money, then I have something for your a**.’
The tourists’ bodies were found shirtless on the street. Both men still had their wallets and did have money. Cooper also had a mobile telephone and camera in his trouser pocket.
Gunned down: James, 24, from Northampton (right) and James, 25, from Warwickshire, were murdered during a holiday in Florida with family and friends
Authorities later found that Kouzaris’ blood alcohol level was 0.243 and Cooper’s was 0.214 – well past Florida’s legal limit for intoxication, which is 0.08.
Defence lawyer Carolyn Schlemmer said during her opening statement that there is nothing to tie Tyson to the shootings as no murder weapon was ever recovered.
She said 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, Schlemmer said.
‘No witnesses will testify that they saw Tyson shoot Cooper and Kouzaris,’ Schlemmer told the jury. ‘Keep an open mind.’
But, in opening the prosecution case yesterday, after three days of jury selection at Sarasota Court, Assistant State Attorney Brodsky said: ‘The reason you are here today and what this case is about are the tragic events that occurred just shortly less than a year ago.
‘On April 16, 2011, at approximately three in the morning, two British men who were here on vacation would find that they would die at the hands of gunfire.’
Pointing at Tyson, who wore an orange shirt and tie, he said: ‘The evidence will conclusively demonstrate to you that this man right here is responsible for the deaths of James Cooper and James Kouzaris.
Accused: Shawn Tyson is on trial for the murders of British tourists James Cooper and James Kouzaris
‘You will find that this case is about two different sets of boys, men, who seized opportunities.
‘The [victims] travelled approximately 4,500 miles to be here and you are going to hear that just three days prior to James Cooper’s death he had just turned 25 years old.
‘James Kouzaris was 24 years old and the evening leading to this event they were with James Cooper’s parents, they had travelled abroad with James Cooper’s mother, James Cooper’s father and a friend of theirs.
‘And you are going to learn that at approximately 2.56am in the morning, that residents and neighbours in the Newtown area would report hearing between six and eight gunshots ring out in the neighbourhood.’
The court heard that autopsies showed Cooper was shot four times – three of the bullets went straight through his body, the fatal one into his chest, perforating his left lung and ending up in his heart.
Kouzaris had been shot twice in the back and was killed by a bullet which perforated his spleen, diaphragm, left lung and his heart. The bullets were from a 0.22 calibre weapon.
Murder scene: James Cooper and James Kouzaris were found dead on this one way street which is off the usual tourist trail
Brodsky said one witness, who was staying with his girlfriend, would describe hearing noise outside at about 2.45am. He said: ‘He saw two white males walking eastbound down Carver or Gore Court.
‘He would describe the two men as being shirtless, he would describe the men as appearing to be drunk because they stumbled and he would describe that as the two men walked down the street that he saw two black males crouching and watching them as they walked by.
‘He will then tell you that approximately one minute or so later he heard gunshots ring out and that several minutes thereafter the police would arrive.’
Another witness, who was driving with her girl friends, described seeing two white men, shirtless, and two black men standing in front of them.
Brodsky said a friend of Tyson’s, Jermaine Bane, would describe seeing the teenager on the night of the murders.
He received a call from him, but thought it was accidental as he heard Tyson telling someone there were two white men walking in the area, but then hung up.
He said about five or ten minutes later he heard gunshots, and shortly afterwards Tyson called him and asked if he had heard shots. When he said yes, the teenager told him to go outside and see if there were any bodies out there.
‘He will also describe Shawn Tyson as sounding out of breath and that he was breathing heavy’, Brodsky said.
Bane will also describe seeing Tyson with a revolver, which he would frequently carry wrapped in a red bandanna, he added.
Another witness, who lived opposite Tyson, described seeing the teenager jump into the window of his apartment shortly after the gunshots.
The prosecutor told the court that Tyson told another witness he had ‘done ‘em’, referring to the two Britons. And witness Marvin Gaines said Tyson told him he had put the gun under his house and, when he asked why, he told him: ‘Those two bodies back there, I did that’.
Gaines said he later gave the gun to Bane and buried seven shell casings from that weapon in his yard.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:44 am
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BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland’s requirement that residents show a “good and substantial reason” to get a handgun permit is unconstitutional, according to a federal judge’s opinion filed Monday.
http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2012/03/0 … itutional/
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:11 am
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