Shooting victim's daughter watches perpetrator walk away on probation after 11 years


More than a decade after David James, a Florida father, was fatally shot while playing basketball with his 8-year-old daughter, his family watched his accused killer walk away on probation.

Trevor Dooley, 80, pleaded guilty Tuesday to shooting James, who had recently retired after a 20-year military career, on Sept. 26, 2010, in exchange for three years of probation, as FOX 13 Tampa first reported.

David and Danielle James (Credit: FOX 13 Tampa)

David and Danielle James (Credit: FOX 13 Tampa)
(FOX 13 Tampa)

James’ wife and daughter, Kanina Eurez and Daniella James, agreed to the plea deal Tuesday but presented statements in a Tampa courtroom and later in a video posted to Facebook taking issue with the justice system.

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“We have no doubts that in a retrial that [Dooley] would again be found guilty, and he would be sentenced, but his lawyers would request bond, and he would be out of jail again,” Eurez said in a statement posted to Facebook Tuesday after Dooley’s plea hearing. 

“Then we’d wait a couple of more years, and then we would finally await for him to go to prison, and his lawyers would likely put in … a motion that he not go to jail because of his elderly age or whatever. But, bottom line, he would never go to jail again.”

Trevor Dooley in court on Nov. 2, 2021. (Credit: FOX 13 Tampa)

Trevor Dooley in court on Nov. 2, 2021. (Credit: FOX 13 Tampa)

A Florida court initially found Dooley guilty in 2012 and sentenced him to eight years in prison but he was granted bond in 2013 to await his appeal. Dooley finally began serving his prison sentence in 2014 before being granted a new trial in 2019.

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Eurez added that the U.S. “justice system is very screwed up,” and accepting Dooley’s plea deal was a way for her family to get “the closure and justice” they need more than a decade after James was killed.

In another statement posted to Facebook, Eurez and her daughter said Dooley “should face the shame of people turning their backs on him every time he is in public but this will only happen if everyone is aware of his crimes.”

Danielle James shares a statement on Nov. 2, 2021. (Credit: FOX 13 Tampa)

Danielle James shares a statement on Nov. 2, 2021. (Credit: FOX 13 Tampa)

Dooley, who lived across the Valrico park where Danielle and David James were playing basketball on Sept. 26, 2010, had initiated a dispute with the veteran over a skateboarder who was using the other side of the basketball court. A struggle ensued, and Dooley fatally shot James in the chest, according to James’ family and witness testimony.

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Danielle James, now 20, described Dooley as a “coward with a firearm” who ruined her childhood “without cause or justification” in her statement.

“I don’t deserve to be strung along after having already told my story, twice,” she said in her statement. “I’m only telling it now so people know what really happened to the man who fought for their freedom and the family who never got to see justice enacted.”

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