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Inmate to jurors: Luc Pierre-Charles admitted killing teens

Luc Pierre-Charles, center, who is on trial for two counts of first-degree murder, talks with defense attorneys Richard Watts, left, and Lane Lastinger during court Thursday. His attorneys say the witnesses against him are unreliable jailhouse snitches.

KERI WIGINTON | Times

Luc Pierre-Charles, center, who is on trial for two counts of first-degree murder, talks with defense attorneys Richard Watts, left, and Lane Lastinger during court Thursday. His attorneys say the witnesses against him are unreliable jailhouse snitches.

DADE CITY — When Luc Pierre-Charles' murder trial began this week, his attorney told jurors that prosecutors would not be able to present any hard evidence that the 21-year-old Wesley Chapel man killed two teenagers in the summer of 2006.

The state would have only a parade of "snitches," defense attorney Richard Watts said, with their own legal histories who have told evolving stories about Pierre-Charles.

Jurors met the first one Friday.

Donovan Parker, 19, was housed in the Pasco County jail last July with four felony charges pending against him when a Tampa detective questioned him about another crime in Hillsborough County. During that conversation, Parker revealed this: Pierre-Charles had admitted to him that he killed Derek Pieper, 17, and Raymond Veluz, 18.

The teens were found shot execution-style on a dirt road in Trilby on July 28, 2006. Prosecutors say Pierre-Charles was a drug dealer who believed Pieper had snitched on him to other dealers. He faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

Parker, handcuffed and wearing jailhouse stripes, was less than forthcoming on the witness stand.

"Did he admit to you killing two boys in Trilby," Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia asked him.

"Yes, sir," Parker replied.

"I'm sorry, what'd you say?" Garcia asked.

"Yes, sir," Parker said again.

Watts then brought out Parker's charges: battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, possession of cocaine and grand theft auto. Watts also pointed out that Parker didn't tell authorities about Pierre-Charles' confession until two years after the murders.

But Garcia fired back, noting that authorities went to him, not the other way around, and it was after Parker had pleaded guilty to his charges.

"Are you expecting any deals from the state," Garcia asked him.

"No," Parker said.

"In fact, you don't want to be here, do you?" Garcia said.

"No."

Earlier Friday, Farrah Hernandez took the witness stand and recalled the last time she saw Pieper and Veluz alive.

Hernandez, now 20, was best friends with Veluz. On July 27, 2006, she testified, Veluz picked her up about 11 p.m. to go to a party. She acknowledged she was high on anti-anxiety pills, liquor and marijuana.

But through her hazy memories, she said they hung out for a few hours before heading in Veluz's car to a Wesley Chapel apartment complex called Pasco Woods.

Prosecutors have said Veluz wanted to buy marijuana, and Pieper took him there to buy it.

At Pasco Woods, the scene turned darker. Hernandez said several people were standing outside, people she didn't know. One of them beat up Pieper. And after she went for a short walk, she returned to find her two friends gone.

The next morning, she found her way to Veluz's house. It was about 7 a.m. His mother told her he hadn't come home. Later that day, she learned the boys were dead.

The jury also heard from several law enforcement witnesses, who analyzed bullet casings found at the scene, tire tracks and Veluz's burned car which was found on River Road in Dade City. A firearms expert testified that two guns were used in the killing, both 9 mm. Another man, Tyree Jenkins, is also accused and is awaiting trial.

The guns were never recovered.

Prosecutors also played a crime scene video. In it, the teens lie side by side, barely a foot apart. Blood is pooled around Pieper's head, and one of his arms is outstretched.

Inmate to jurors: Luc Pierre-Charles admitted killing teens 03/13/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 13, 2009 7:07pm]
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