Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco jury in Luc Pierre-Charles' murder trial won't see video

Luc Pierre-Charles, 21, center, talks with defense attorneys Richard Watts, left, and Lane Lastinger in court on Thursday. 

KERI WIGINTON | Times

Luc Pierre-Charles, 21, center, talks with defense attorneys Richard Watts, left, and Lane Lastinger in court on Thursday. 

DADE CITY — In a cramped, brightly lit interview room at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Andre Pierre-Charles and his parents discussed the murders of two teenagers.

With tempers wearing thin, Andre told his parents again and again that he wanted to go home. He had said all he had to say. He wasn't going to take a lie detector test.

It was August 2006, a few weeks after two Wesley Chapel teenagers had been found executed on a dirt road in Trilby. Detectives suspected Andre's brother, Luc, and were questioning Andre, who denied involvement, about what he knew.

The detectives left the room for a few minutes, but the videotape kept running.

"I didn't kill nobody," Andre told his parents. "I already told you that."

Then, in a hushed voice, his father asked him straight: "Who did it? Luc?"

"I don't believe that," his mother interjected.

But then Andre, who had been slumped over a table, lifted his head and nodded.

"Oh Lord! Oh Jesus!" Angela Pierre-Charles cried, cradling her face in her hand.

That exchange was played in court Thursday during Luc Pierre-Charles' first-degree murder trial. But the jury never saw it. The judge determined that it was hearsay, not admissible evidence.

Prosecutors wanted to play it for jurors to help build their case for a conviction. The state is seeking the death penalty.

The trial got under way in earnest on Thursday after three days of jury selection. Pierre-Charles faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Derek Pieper and Raymond Veluz, who were both students at Wesley Chapel High School. They had left a party to buy marijuana and ended up dead, officials said.

Pierre-Charles killed them, prosecutors say, to protect his drug trade.

Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia told jurors in his opening argument that witnesses to be called by the state will testify that Pierre-Charles, now 21, confided in them about what he did.

"He had taken these boys out on Harris Hill Road, (had them) get down on their knees and pray, and emptied his clip," Garcia said.

But defense attorney Richard Watts depicted a brewing conflict involving many more people. He mentioned Jeremy Henry, a known criminal and drug dealer in east Pasco, who was identified as a suspect and person of interest in the case early on. Henry was later killed.

Prosecutors have also charged Tyree Jenkins in the deaths of Pieper and Veluz. He awaits trial.

Without ever specifically saying that Pierre-Charles is not guilty, Watts said the state has no physical evidence against him — no fingerprints, no murder weapon.

And he said the state's witnesses are mostly "snitches" of questionable credibility whose stories have frequently changed over time.

The state then began calling witnesses. Pieper's girlfriend said she saw Pieper when he got off work that night and then was unable to reach him.

Veluz's mother said she was home with Veluz watching TV when he got a phone call and left.

"He said he'd be back," Maria Dejon said.

About 3 the next afternoon, sheriff's detectives notified her that he was dead.

Pasco jury in Luc Pierre-Charles' murder trial won't see video 03/12/09 [Last modified: Thursday, March 12, 2009 9:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays' Evan Longoria: "We have all the belief in the world in here"

    Blogs

    The weekend sweep by Texas and four-game overall losing streak has some Rays fans - based on their tweets and emails - questioning the team's ability to make the playoffs and suggesting they might as well trade away their key parts.

  2. FWC: Fish away for invasive lionfish

    Water

    Times staff

    What could be better than fishing and helping save the Gulf of Mexico?

    Add prizes.

    Lionfish, originally from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, are an invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico. [LARA CERRI  |  Times]
  3. Gerald McCoy cares too much about what you think of him

    The Heater

    Gerald McCoy is right. We are going to miss him when he's gone.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of 16 players to record at least five sacks in each of the past five seasons. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Ronde Barber says comments about McCoy 'sensationalized'

    Blogs

    If anyone thinks Ronde Barber was throwing shade at Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, think again.

    "That anyone would assume I would say the best player on the defense isn’t a bad dude is irresponsible and sensationalizing a quote to serve their own means,'' Ronde Barber said.
  5. Nine years later, library attack victim Queena works at learning to walk again

    News

    Slowly, Queena Phu is learning the act of walking again through exercises in locomotion, strength and balance.

    Queena Phu of Tampa and prosecutor Rita Peters arrive at the Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center on Monday.
 Phu, 27, has endured a long road to recovery after suffering brain damage from a brutal attack that left her unable to walk, talk, see or eat on her own. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]