Teen's role in tourist slaying questioned

Published Apr. 7, 1996|Updated Sep. 15, 2005

As questions were raised about his role in last month's murder of a Canadian tourist, an Ormond Beach teenager remained in jail Saturday while police said they expected to make more arrests in the case.

A grand jury is to consider indictments Wednesday in the March 15 murder of Mark Fyke, 18, who was visiting Daytona Beach on a spring break class trip from Ontario. The grand jury meeting was delayed a week so police and prosecutors could continue their investigation.

The attorney for the only person charged in Fyke's death said Saturday that he thinks he can prove Donald W. Shoup Jr., 18, was not at the beachside pay telephone when Fyke was shot once in the head.

"I've been convinced all along that they have the wrong person," said Assistant Public Defender Larry Henderson. "My preliminary investigation shows he wasn't within 10 miles at the time Mr. Fyke was shot."

At the time of his arrest, Daytona Beach detectives said they believed Shoup fired the shot that killed Fyke. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported Saturday that authorities now believe another teenager _ not Shoup _ did the shooting. The newspaper attributed the information to several unidentified sources.

The report also said that Fyke's friend, Che Guerrera, who witnessed the shooting, told police that Shoup was among a group of teens who approached Fyke just before the murder, but was not the gunman.

Daytona Beach police issued a release Saturday stating that Shoup, who flagged down a police officer a day after Fyke's death and said he pulled the trigger, would remain in jail on a first-degree murder charge. Police acknowledged that they have identified others who they believe are involved with the crime, but have yet to say what they will be charged with.

Steve Alexander, the state attorney for Volusia County, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

In Fyke's hometown of Belleville, Ontario, on Saturday, the Fyke family read the News-Journal report in their local paper. Mark Fyke's brother, Paul, said his family wasn't sure what to make of the story.

"We're not too concerned with it right now because we haven't heard whether it's true or not," Paul Fyke, 17, said Saturday afternoon.

The victim's mother, Christine Fyke, said Daytona Beach authorities had told her others were involved in the shooting. But she would not comment on whether authorities had told her about the possibility of someone else being the gunman.

"I want to make sure that justice is done and all the guilty parties are found," she said.

Christine Fyke said she will fly to Daytona next week for the grand jury session.

"We don't know the full story about what (police) say has gone on," Paul Fyke said. "We know they were surrounded by a group of six, they asked for his money, and they shot him."

Shoup's relatives said he was not one of the six.

"He wasn't there at all," Shoup's sister, Shannon, said Saturday. Police interviewed the 22-year-old shortly after her brother's arrest.

Shoup's father said his son's mental disabilities explain why he might confess to something he didn't do.

"If you don't know him, you wouldn't understand," Donald Shoup Sr. said Saturday. "He's a very cooperative man."

The elder Shoup said his son attended school for the disabled until he was 16, when he dropped out.

The News-Journal quoted a 1992 mental health evaluation by the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services which found the teen has "considerable difficulty when required to respond verbally to questions . . . does not always accurately relate previous experiences . . . (and) often exaggerates the truth and cannot consistently be believed."

Donald Shoup was arrested after he flagged down a police officer in Ormond Beach a day after the shooting. Ormond Beach is just north of Daytona Beach.

Police say Shoup waived his rights and said he shot Fyke accidentally while trying to rob him.

Fyke was killed just after he completed a telephone call to his mother in Belleville, Ontario. Police said a group of teenagers walked up to the pay telephone from the beach and tried to rob Fyke before one of them shot him.

Shoup told police he accidentally shot Fyke once in the back of the head after another teenager pushed Fyke into him, causing the gun to fire.

Police said Shoup dropped the pistol as he fled with the other teens.

Shoup's statement was not videotaped or recorded, police acknowledged during a pretrial hearing in the case. Investigators often record statements from suspects in serious crimes. No explanation was given for why Shoup was not recorded.

"I don't think he would be in jail right now if he'd had an attorney there, or even if he had me there," the elder Shoup said. "I'm not saying they railroaded him, but you can be talking to him about one situation and he'll tell you about something else."

He said he hopes his son will be released from jail soon, perhaps even in time for the Easter holiday today. "I want to see that happen," he said. "I want to see the whole story come out."

He said he spoke to his son in jail Saturday. The younger Shoup had seen the front page story which was headlined "Jailed teen didn't shoot Breaker," his father said.

"After that, he was doing very well," the elder Shoup said.

_ Times staff writers Monica Davey and Jaleh Hagigh and the Daytona Beach News-Journal contributed to this report.

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