DADE CITY — Defense attorneys for Luc Pierre-Charles on Tuesday unveiled a theory that someone else was behind the 2006 murder of two Wesley Chapel teenagers.
Who does the defense say is responsible?
Andre Pierre-Charles, the defendant's younger brother.
The accusation came during the final day of testimony in the double-murder trial. Attorneys are expected to give closing arguments this morning, then the case will go to the jury.
Prosecutors say Luc Pierre- Charles, now 21, was a drug dealer who killed the teens to protect his turf. The state is seeking the death penalty.
But the defense laid out the case Tuesday that the state has the wrong man.
Defense attorney Lane Lastinger introduced cell phone records Tuesday that show numerous calls being made the night of July 27, 2006, and early the next morning, before Derek Pieper, 17, and Raymond Veluz, 18, were found shot to death on a dirt road in Trilby.
Angel Brooks, a witness for the prosecution, testified she heard Andre take a call from Luc that night, and on the line she overheard Luc telling the teens to get down on their knees and pray.
But Lastinger said cell phone records show Andre's phone was turned off between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Pieper and Veluz were killed about 5:30 a.m.
"It sets the times (that have) already been testified to," Lastinger said. "His phone was off.
"Our theory is that Andre was directly involved in these murders," he said.
Andre Pierre-Charles, who has not been charged in the case, testified earlier in the trial.
Lastinger called several witnesses who were with Andre Pierre-Charles, now 19, on the night of the killings and the next day.
One friend, Jessica Rotolo, said Andre and his friend Jeremy Henry knocked on her door about 7 a.m., the morning of the murders. Brooks, Henry's girlfriend, was with them. They turned on the TV, she said, and saw Henry's face. He had been named a "person of interest in the killings" and authorities were looking for him.
"He wasn't very happy," Rotolo said.
Ricardo Rubio then testified that Andre, Henry and Brooks showed up at his house late that afternoon.
"Was there anything unusual about how Andre was acting?" Lastinger asked.
"He was just quiet," Rubio said. "He was all stressed out, had his head down. I had no idea what was going on with him."
Henry was found shot to death a couple weeks later. Authorities have said Luc Pierre-Charles paid Commie Pattmon, a 26-year-old from Tampa, to kill him, fearing Henry was going to come forward with what he knew about the teens' killings.
Prosecutors said they planned to call Pattmo, to testify against Luc Pierre-Charles, but Pattmon never made an appearance.
Molly Moorhead can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6245.