Police Now Believe They Have Real Killer Of Tourist
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A mentally retarded teen-ager was lying when he said he shot a Canadian tourist to death during spring break, police said after charging another teen-ager with the killing.
Authorities still believe Donald Shoup, 18, was present when Mark Fyke was shot to death March 15 as he hung up a beachside pay phone after talking with his mother.
But they now say John O’Neal Rainey, 17, of Umatilla, fired the gun. He was charged Monday with first-degree murder.
Meanwhile, initial charges against Shoup, the original suspect, were reduced from first-degree murder, which could bring a death penalty, to second-degree murder and armed robbery, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Shoup confessed to shooting Fyke, 18, of Belleville, Ontario, during the botched robbery attempt. But authorities said he lied, and that four witnesses have identified Rainey as the one who put a .38 caliber revolver to Fyke’s head and said: ``Hang up the phone and give me your money.″
When the high school student said he had none, Rainey allegedly fired a single shot in the back of Fyke’s head and fled with the others, police said.
Rainey, who had been in a juvenile detention center for two weeks on an unrelated charge of violating probation, was transferred Monday night to a county adult jail.
The higher charge still could be reinstated against Shoup and other teen-agers when a grand jury convenes Wednesday, said State Attorney General Steve Alexander.
Prosecutors said they now believe Shoup never met Rainey and the other teen-agers before the night of the shooting, but tagged along with them and was present when he was shot to death.
``All I’ve got to prove is that (Shoup) knew they were going to commit a robbery,″ Alexander said.
Witnesses placed Shoup miles away from the shooting, said Larry Henderson, an assistant public defender representing Shoup.
Shoup has an IQ in the 50s and likely confessed to the crime because he will repeat anything suggested to him, Henderson said.
``He can be manipulated very easily. I could get him to say anything I wanted to if I tried,″ Henderson said. ``And he’ll just add in whatever facts he thinks he knows.″