14-year-old Charged With Murder: Tampa’s Ybor City Shooting Case Unfolds in Courtroom Drama


Last week, Kadyn Abney sat slumped in a chair in a police interview room, his hands in his lap, his father by his side, as two Tampa murder investigators accused him of shooting the gun that killed Harrison Boonstoppel.

The 14-year-old was asked whether he had any words for the family of Boonstoppel, an innocent bystander murdered in the Ybor City shootout on Oct. 29.

“I apologize,” Abney said, “for firing the gun that killed Harrison.”

The video clip, which lasted less than a minute, was shown in a Tampa courtroom Tuesday as prosecutors argued that Abney should be jailed without bail until his trial for second-degree murder and other crimes.

Judge Robin Fuson of Hillsborough County said yes to the request because she thought Abney was a danger to the community.

Chains around the teen’s legs held him down. His red jail shirt showed that he is being charged with murder. He wore a yellow vest over it, but an orange jacket showed that he was a minor to the jail staff.

In the Oct. 29 shootout that killed two people and hurt 15, Abney is the second person to be charged with murder. At the same hearing at the end of last month, Fuson also told Tyrell Phillips, 22, to stay in jail until his trial.

Abney looked with interest at the press and TV cameras in the jury box while he was in court. He would sometimes lean forward and rest his head on a defense table. He would then look at the floor or put his hands over his face.

They were sitting in the gallery behind him. It looked like his mother was crying.

The parents of Boonstoppel were sitting across the aisle. In court, neither family spoke.

14-year-old Charged With Murder: Tampa's Ybor City Shooting Case Unfolds in Courtroom Drama

The shooting took place just before 3 a.m. in the middle of Seventh Avenue, near Centro Ybor, which was full of people dressed up for Halloween who were out having a good time.

A spate of violence made people worry about the safety of the famous entertainment district. Some people have asked for steps to limit what goes on there late at night, while business owners and residents have said they are afraid of being pushed out.

The first shots that killed Abney’s friend, 14-year-old Elijah Wilson, were said to have been fired by Phillips.

Phillips told cops that he fired in self-defense, but the state said that video evidence showed that his story was not true.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the state showed again a lot of cellphone and security videos that showed two groups of young people fighting in the middle of the busy street. As the shots go off, hundreds of people jump and start running.

The prosecutor brought up Abney’s extensive arrest history, citing allegations of grand theft of a motor vehicle and armed robbery.

Assistant Public Defender Elizabeth Beardsley attempted to challenge the veracity of the state’s evidence by arguing that it was not shown that Abney was the shooter who killed Boonstoppel.

The defense attorney also mentioned that Abney received treatment after being found mentally incompetent in a number of his juvenile court trials.

Beardsley added that he apologized since the investigators had kept accusing him of being the one who fired the fatal shot.

She declared, “He is presumed innocent of those charges.”

The shooting is still being looked into. Police reported making a third arrest last week.

The 21-year-old Dwayne Tillman is accused of aggravated violence causing serious bodily harm and attempted murder. He’s still in custody, and on Friday there will be a hearing to decide whether or not he may be released from custody pending his trial.

According to police, they think at least one additional person has fired rounds but has not yet been taken into custody. Tips resulting in an arrest have been eligible for rewards of $27,000.

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