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Fla. Trial Jury Hears Statement

February 8, 2001

PALATKA, Fla. (AP) _ Jurors in the first-degree murder trial of a 15-year-old heard him on tape Wednesday, apologizing for what happened to a 12-year-old playmate police had found strangled.

``I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for this to happen,″ a sobbing John Silva said during questioning by authorities.

In the rambling 3 1/2-hour statement, Silva first said he and Jerry Lee Alley were wrestling when the younger boy hit his head and began bleeding.

``I panicked, I did not know what to do,″ Silva said.

Silva denied knowledge of his playmate being tied up, but later said: ``I tied his hands so he wouldn’t hurt himself.″

A medical examiner testified that the boy was strangled by an Ace bandage and an electrical cord. His hands and feet were bound behind his back by another bandage.

Early on the tape, Silva said he did not plan the killing. However, police said a note found at the scene allegedly written by Silva included such lines as ``tie up hands,″ ``gag,″ and ``cover eyes.″

Jerry failed to return home for supper May 26. His body was found three days later inside a dried-up septic tank used by area children as a fort.

Silva is being tried as an adult. He could face life in prison without parole if convicted.

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