Emanual Kidega Samson, the twenty seven year old who planned a horrifying mass shooting and carried it out, was found guilty of first degree murder. It only took the jury five hours to come to a decision.
The brutal mass shooting killed one woman and terrorized an entire Antioch church, leaving every witness horrified by the scene.
Samson, a twenty seven year old black male, planned to kill ten white people attending church. The attack was in retaliation to a 2015 church shooting where there was nine black people murdered.
The 12 person jury came to the unanimous decision that Samson was to be found guilty of his crimes. He was charged with first degree murder for the death of Melanie Crow, the woman whom he shot four times and killed. She was walking through the parking lot of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, Bible and sermon notes in hand. Samson shot her three times in the back and once in the face.
In addition to the first degree murder charge, Samson was found guilty of forty two other charges. The charges include attempted murder for the seven injured church members, three counts of civil rights intimidation, and twenty four counts of aggravated assault.
As the verdict was being read, Samson was sitting silently in a gray suit accompanied by a green tie.
Responses from family & churchgoers
Prosecutors, members of the deceased, and members of Burnette Chapel church were able to have a moment of relief when Samson was deemed guilty. Many members of the church arrived to the courthouse on a bus, sitting in the gallery through the four day trial. They were there on Friday once again, holding hands as the verdict was read.
The members of the church were asked to stay quiet and avoid showing emotion while the verdict was being read. Once outside together, they then fell into one another’s arms and teared up.
“When you come out that courtroom door, it bursts loose,” said Burnette Chapel minister Joey Spann. He still has a bullet that’s lodged in his chest from the horrible shooting, “We felt like justice has happened.”
Sheila Crow, mother to the deceased Melanie Crow, was sat in the front row when the verdict was read. She wore a necklace that had her daughter’s fingerprint etched onto it.
Her reason for attending court was to see her daughter’s killer be punished for his crimes, taking her daughter’s “big, gorgeous smile” away.
“We won’t get her back, but … ” she said, her words trailing up as her eyes filled with tears.
A decision on Samson’s sentence is expected shortly. Prosecutors are hoping for a sentence of life without parole, but the final sentence will be determined shortly.