Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Luc Pierre-Charles guilty in murders of two Wesley Chapel High students

DADE CITY — After he killed two teenagers in a merciless execution over a piddling amount of money and dope, Luc Pierre-Charles started talking.

He talked about how he made the victims beg for their lives.

He bragged about how he emptied his gun into their backs.

He even demonstrated how he did it.

Pierre-Charles, who was arrested last fall in the July 2006 killings, faced trial this week. Prosecutors had little physical evidence but found enough witnesses to recount, under oath, what he'd told them about the last moments of Derek Pieper's and Raymond Veluz's lives.

And on Wednesday evening, after five hours of deliberations, a jury found Pierre-Charles, 21, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.

A crowd of nearly 50 friends and family cried. On the other side of the courtroom, Pieper's mother, Susan Wood, wept, too.

"Justice was served," she said.

Pierre-Charles faces either life in prison or the death penalty. His sentencing is scheduled for this morning.

Authorities say Pierre-Charles was a drug dealer who guarded his turf with paranoia and intimidation. On July 27, 2006, Pieper, 17, a student at Wesley Chapel High School, was at a party where his friend Veluz, 18, asked him to help him buy marijuana. Even though Pieper had told friends and family he was growing afraid of Pierre-Charles and his associates, that's where he turned that night to score drugs.

The last time witnesses saw the teens alive, they were in the backseat of Veluz's car. Pierre-Charles was driving. Tyree Jenkins, who has also been charged in the killings, rode shotgun.

Pieper's and Veluz's bodies were discovered the next morning, face down on a dusty road, their backs sprayed with bullets.

Prosecutors said Pierre-Charles believed Pieper had snitched on him to other drug dealers. Veluz, they said, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The boys were robbed of about $60 and a small stash of marijuana.

Four witnesses took the stand for the state during the eight-day trial and recalled what Pierre-Charles had told them.

Angel Brooks was the closest thing to an eyewitness. She was with Andre Pierre-Charles, the defendant's younger brother, the night of the killings. She testified that Andre got a call from Luc, and in the background she overheard Luc telling the boys to get on their knees and pray.

When she saw Luc the next morning, she said, he talked and demonstrated how he killed them.

"What did he say?" Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia asked her.

"I held the gun like this, and I emptied the whole clip," Brooks said.

"Tyree was standing there," she added.

"Was he laughing?" Garcia asked.

"Yes," she said.

"They thought it was funny?" Garcia asked.

"Basically."

Brooks was the girlfriend of Jeremy Henry, a known criminal and friend of Pierre-Charles who was initially suspected in the murders. Henry was found dead weeks later. Authorities have arrested a man who said Luc and Andre Pierre-Charles paid him to kill Henry, fearing he would soon go to the police.

Witness Anthony Harris testified that he was working as a confidential informant in 2006 when he saw Luc Pierre-Charles at the home of another drug dealer.

"He said he unloaded numerous times in the back of one boy's head," Harris testified. "And he said Tyree unloaded in the other boy's head."

Asked why, Harris said: "I guess they be wanting a rep — a reputation in the streets as being the man in the streets," he said. "That's how it is."

Defense attorneys sought to discredit the state's witnesses as jailhouse snitches who told evolving stories and pushed their own agendas. They pointed the finger at Henry and Andre Pierre-Charles, using cell phone records to show calls that night between Pieper and Andre.

Perhaps the strongest testimony for the state came from John Booker Blanford. He said he helped Luc Pierre-Charles — his cousin — dispose of the gun used in the murders, tossing it into a lake.

The reason for the bloodshed, according to Blanford: "He and Tyree wanted to bag their first bodies."

Outside the courtroom, where security was heavy, defense attorney Lane Lastinger comforted Pierre-Charles' family and told them not to lose faith. His father, Luc Sr., cried and said, "I know my son didn't kill nobody."

Luc Pierre-Charles guilty in murders of two Wesley Chapel High students 03/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Taste of Tampa Bay: Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market in St. Petersburg

    Food & Dining

    Pam Prasad, who is originally from Guyana, runs Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market on 38th Avenue N in St. Petersburg with her two sons. Prasad loves to educate her customers about her food, customs and culture. The place is known for its variety of roti combinations, goat dishes and spices.

    Pam Prasad makes roti at Pam's Roti Shop at 2800 38th Ave N. in St. Petersburg. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Tampa Pig Jig lineup: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Justin Moore, more

    Blogs

    This year's Tampa Pig Jig will have a little bit of country and a little bit of soul.

    Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
  3. March opening planned for renovated Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park

    News

    TAMPA — Dirt, wood and concrete filling the 24-acre Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park will become lawns, athletic facilities and dog parks by March, city officials say.

    A view from the Laurel Street bridge observation deck of the River Center that's being built at the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. Construction is underway for the renovation of the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. In Hillsborough, a social worker tasked with helping kids has troubles of her own

    K12

    CLEARWATER — As a social worker for Hillsborough County schools, Marissa Mitchell holds one of the system's most sensitive jobs, helping children navigate deeply personal family problems.

    Marissa Mitchell, recently released from Pinellas County Jail, is a social worker for the Hillsborough County public school system.
  5. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB

    Bucs

    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]