Tips leads to break, arrest in 2006 double murder case

WESLEY CHAPEL — It was a bloody summer.

Two teens were found facedown in the Trilby sand the morning of July 28, 2006. Derek Pieper was just 17. Raymond Veluz was 18. They had been shot dead.

Jeremy Henry was wanted for questioning in their deaths — then he too was gunned down, on Aug. 13, 2006.

Months later an arrest was made in Henry's death, but the teens' murders went unsolved for two years.

So did the mystery: Were these murders connected?

Now authorities say they have solved two mysteries. They say they know who killed the two teens, and they know why Henry died.

Tyree Jenkins, 22, was arrested in Tampa on charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of Pieper and Veluz.

Two murder warrants have also been issued for Luc Pierre-Charles, 20, in the teens' deaths; authorities consider him armed and dangerous.

Authorities also said why Henry died: to silence him after he pinned the Trilby double homicide on Jenkins and Pierre-Charles two years ago.

And authorities said even before the bloodshed started, Pieper knew he was in trouble.

• • •

Pieper waited to be alone with the detective.

It was July 15, 2006. A Pasco sheriff's detective had just told an audience at Wesley Chapel High School that it's never too late to turn around your life.

According to details released by deputies Friday, Pieper told that detective he had gotten in with a bad crowd. They sold drugs. They paid him to drive them around. He was scared.

The detective told Pieper to cut ties with them immediately. He gave Pieper his personal cell number, to call any time he needed help.

Pieper told his mother and his friends how bad things had been for months. But he also said he was going to change.

Pieper was going to be a senior. He was a star lacrosse player. He wanted to play in college. He was done making bad decisions.

But at a party on the evening of July 27, he made one more.

Raymond Veluz had moved to Wesley Chapel from New York just a few months earlier. Veluz asked Pieper if he could get him some marijuana, deputies say.

Pieper said yes. They left the party together.

At dawn the next day, the bodies of Pieper and Veluz were found on a dirt road in Trilby, more than 25 miles from their suburban homes.

Both were facedown, killed execution-style, authorities say, with multiple gunshot wounds in their backs.

• • •

Their deaths left Wesley Chapel reeling.

Friends changed their MySpace.com photos to one of Pieper in his lacrosse uniform.

"derek Im sorry I couldnt help you," one poster wrote online. "I tryed but I failed I hope u are in a better place now."

Then Jeremy Henry entered the picture.

His criminal record started at age 11. He was 19 when he was acquitted of attempted murder.

Investigators wanted to talk to Henry about the teens' deaths. They said Henry led his own gang, though his family denied it.

But on Aug. 13, 2006, Henry's life ended on a dirt road in Dade City. The Sheriff's Office called it a setback in the investigation into the teens' deaths.

On Friday, Detective Lisa Schoneman said that three days before his death, Henry called deputies to say he had nothing to do with the teens' murders, but he knew who did: Jenkins and Pierre-Charles.

Then in October, Commie Lateel "Blackjack" Pattmon was charged with Henry's murder. According to court records, witnesses said Pattmon was paid to kill Henry.

After Pattmon allegedly executed Henry, witnesses said, he then warned them to stay silent:

"Loose lips sink ships."

• • •

The three murders had a chilling effect. No one wanted to talk — for two years.

Pieper's parents called investigators twice a week to see if there was a break in the case.

It came Thursday morning.

A witness came forward and gave Schoneman the information she needed to get the arrest warrants. By that afternoon, Jenkins had been arrested in Tampa on a traffic violation.

Pierre-Charles is still out there and still dangerous, officials said. The Sheriff's Office said a Pasco deputy stopped him May 14 because of an outstanding Polk County arrest warrant in connection with a home invasion.

Pierre-Charles escaped from the back of a cruiser, according to a sheriff's report, assaulted a deputy, shrugged off a Taser blast and got away.

Details of the teens' deaths were not revealed by the Sheriff's Office on Friday. The arrest warrant was under seal Friday, by court order. Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said that was in part "to protect the identity of witnesses."

Times researchers Will Gorham and Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at (727) 869-6236 or thalji@sptimes.com.

Tips leads to break, arrest in 2006 double murder case 07/25/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 9:21pm]

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