Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tainted jury pool forces judge to postpone Pasco murder trial

DADE CITY — Tyree Jenkins was set to go to trial this week for the fatal shooting of two Wesley Chapel High School students on a dirt road six years ago in Trilby, but he will have to have his day in court later.

Two days into jury selection, Circuit Judge Susan Gardner tossed out the entire remaining panel on Tuesday after a prospective juror was overhead talking about Jenkins' previous murder conviction and life sentence in a 2008 Hillsborough robbery and shooting. The comments were made within earshot of other prospective jurors.

Attorneys had agreed at a pretrial hearing last week that they would not bring up Jenkins' prior conviction unless the other side brought in evidence exploring Jenkins' character. Rules of evidence prohibit prosecutors from introducing evidence of previous crimes except in limited circumstances.

Jenkins, 26, is one of two co-defendants in the execution-style shooting of 17-year-old Derek Pieper and 18-year-old Raymond Veluz, whose bodies were found lying face down on Harris Hill Road.

Witnesses said Pieper and Veluz were trying to buy marijuana. Pieper, who had met Jenkins' co-defendant, Luc Pierre-Charles, at school, had dabbled in drugs, but had changed his lifestyle. He met Veluz, newly arrived from New York, at a party. When Veluz asked Pieper if he knew where he could find marijuana, Pieper contacted Pierre-Charles' brother. Pieper and Veluz ended up in a car with Jenkins and Pierre-Charles later that evening.

Prosecutors say the teens were shot because Pierre-Charles believed Pieper was helping rival drug dealers.

Prosecutors sought the death penalty for Pierre-Charles and Jenkins. In 2009, a jury convicted Pierre-Charles, who received a life sentence. However, an appeals court overturned that conviction and granted Pierre-Charles a new trial, saying jurors should not have been allowed to see a video of Pierre-Charles' brother discussing the case with his parents in an interview room.

Rules prevent prosecutors from seeking death a second time.

If Jenkins is convicted of first-degree murder in this case, he could face the death penalty.

A new pretrial conference in his case is set for April 4.

Tainted jury pool forces judge to postpone Pasco murder trial 03/20/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 10:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Iconic Ballet Nacional de Cuba ballet will perform at Straz in May

    News

    Besides fine tobacco, Ballet Nacional de Cuba is considered by many to be the island nation's most distinctive export.

    Ballet Nacional de Cuba, one of the world's premiere ballet companies, will perform at the Straz Center in May.

 [Courtesy of Carlos Quezada]
  2. I-275 south closed in St. Pete heading towards Sunshine Skyway

    Accidents

    ST. PETERSBURG — All southbound lanes of Interstate 275 on the southern tip of Pinellas County were closed Wednesday afternoon due to a traffic crash with injuries, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  3. Bucs-Jaguars: Five things to watch Thursday in Jacksonville

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs have their second preseason game here Friday against the Jaguars, and here are five things to keep an eye on as Tampa Bay moves closer to paring its roster from 90 players to 53 by Sept. 3.

    1. AVOIDING BIG PLAYS ON DEFENSE

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  4. Former Rep. Corrine Brown denied new trial; to be sentenced in November

    Blogs

    JACKSONVILLE (AP)—A federal judge has denied a request for a new trial by former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, who was found guilty of taking money from a sham charity that was purported to be aiding poor students.

    Corrine Brown
  5. We knew Aguayo was a goner, and 'Hard Knocks' still delivers

    Bucs

    Tuesday night's second installment of Hard Knocks, the HBO show that is going behind the scenes at training camp with the Bucs, had plenty of interesting tidbits, revelations and insights.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) kicks during training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times