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Teen cleared in tourist killing

Published Sep. 16, 2005

A murder charge was dropped Tuesday against Donald Shoup Jr., a mentally disabled Ormond Beach man who prosecutors had thought played a part in a Canadian spring breaker's slaying in Daytona Beach.

New witnesses told prosecutors Tuesday that Shoup, 19, couldn't have participated in the killing of Mark Fyke on March 15 because Shoup was with them, miles away, said Steve Cotter, a spokesman for the state attorney.

Another witness also confirmed that he spotted Shoup at his Port Orange establishment while Shoup was visiting his friends, court records show.

He was cleared of charges of being a principal to first-degree murder and principal of attempted robbery with a firearm.

Donald Shoup Sr. said he is "tickled pink" his son has been cleared.

"I knew all along that he would be found innocent sooner or later. It was just a matter of time," Shoup Sr. said. "But the wheels of justice turn slowly sometimes."

The new witnesses surfaced Monday when the state conducted an additional investigation into Shoup's whereabouts, Cotter said.

One witness, Joy Hamilton of Port Orange, said in a statement that Shoup, his sister Shannon Shoup and friend Greg McElwain visited her room at the Triangle Motel about 8 p.m. and that they talked until about 12:05 a.m. The killing happened shortly before midnight.

In May, the Orlando Sentinel reported that five of the eight teen-agers who were at the shooting near the beach said Shoup had nothing to do with the slaying.

One of them, John O'Neal Rainey, a ninth-grade dropout police have identified as the triggerman, signed a sworn statement Tuesday that said Shoup was not involved.

In April, a Volusia County grand jury indicted Shoup and three other teen-agers in Fyke's slaying at a pay phone near the Thunderbird Beach Motel.

Shoup was not released from the Volusia County Branch Jail Tuesday because of violating his probation from a domestic violence case involving Shoup's sister, Shannon Shoup, Henderson said.

That case is expected to go before County Judge Thomas Bevis next week in Daytona Beach, Henderson said.

Fyke, 18, of Belleville, Ontario, was shot in the back of the neck after he hung up the phone from talking to his mother.

He died at the phone booth, a .38-caliber handgun found near his feet.

The Canadian student was part of a bus tour that was scheduled to leave the next morning.