You are the owner of this article.
Antioch Church Shooting Trial

Day 5: Emanuel Samson found guilty on all 43 counts in deadly Antioch church shooting

  • ,
  • Posted
  • 0
  • 5 min to read
Samson convicted

NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Emanuel Samson, the man accused in the deadly Antioch church shooting, has been found guilty by a jury on all 43 counts against him.

Samson was accused of killing one person and injuring several others after he started shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.

Burnette Chapel Church of Christ accused shooter Emanuel Samson

Burnette Chapel Church of Christ accused shooter Emanuel Samson

Samson faced one count of first degree murder, one count of civil rights violation, one count of civil rights intimidation, one count of reckless endangerment, seven counts of attempted first degree murder, seven counts of felon with a deadly weapon with intent, and 24 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Here is a breakdown on the charges and the jury's finding:

  • First Degree Murder: GUILTY
  • Civil Rights Violation - Count 1: GUILTY
  • Civil Rights Intimidation - Count 1: GUILTY
  • Civil Rights Intimidation - Count 2: GUILTY
  • Reckless Endangerment: GUILTY
  • Attempted First Degree Murder - Count 1: GUILTY
  • Attempted First Degree Murder - Count 2: GUILTY
  • Attempted First Degree Murder - Count 3: GUILTY
  • Attempted First Degree Murder - Count 4: GUILTY
  • Attempted First Degree Murder - Count 5: GUILTY
  • Attempted First Degree Murder - Count 6: GUILTY
  • Attempted First Degree Murder - Count 7: GUILTY
  • Felon with Deadly Weapon/Intent - Count 1: GUILTY
  • Felon with Deadly Weapon/Intent - Count 2: GUILTY
  • Felon with Deadly Weapon/Intent - Count 3: GUILTY
  • Felon with Deadly Weapon/Intent - Count 4: GUILTY
  • Felon with Deadly Weapon/Intent - Count 5: GUILTY
  • Felon with Deadly Weapon/Intent - Count 6: GUILTY
  • Felon with Deadly Weapon/Intent - Count 7: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 1: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 2: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 3: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 4: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 5: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 6: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 7: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 8: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 9: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 10: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 11: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 12: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 13: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 14: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 15: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 16: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 17: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 18: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 19: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 20: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 21: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 22: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 23: GUILTY
  • Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon - Count 24: GUILTY

Prosecutors are looking at a maximum life sentence for Samson without the possibility of parole. According to the DA, they did not pursue the death penalty to respect the wishes of some of the church members who did not want it.

On Thursday, the prosecution planned to put on Samson's jail calls with his girlfriend. The defense objected to those being played out in front of the jury.

Church members shook their head while defense read transcripts of Samson’s jail calls. He told his girlfriend in the calls that while he was laying on the floor of the church “I could hear everything was saying and it was some funny sh**.”

Jail calls include Samson and girlfriend at the time laughing about Pastor Joey Spann on the news. All of this is happening without the jury in the room. The counsel was arguing for awhile about what was admissible.

The defense wanted to play all calls in full instead of the pieces the state picked that indicate inconsistencies in Samson’s testimony. We heard Samson say he was “unfazed” about the shooting in the jail calls, something he told the state he never said when asked Wednesday when he took the stand.

Samson reportedly says in jail calls: “I have always loved that I know how to deceive people."

There was a discrepency about whether he actually said “know how to speak to people.” Judge Cheryl Blackburn called for a brief recess to listen for herself, and ultimately ruled that the piece of recording was inaudible.

Judge Blackburn told the jury that the calls must be used to determine Samson and ex-girflriend’s credibility. There were three calls in total. The state played pieces of them first, then all three in their entirety.

The state called a sheriff’s office investigator to the stand and asked her about how inmates make calls from jail. The state then called the director of communication research for the DA’s office. Part of his job is to monitor jail calls. He pulled the pieces of the calls we heard as evidence today.

The calls were heard to understand over the court speakers, but in the last one you could tell Samson and his girlfriend were mocking Pastor Joey Spann.

The ex-girlfriend in one of the calls said, “Don’t get me wrong Americans are intelligent, but they aren’t intellectual.”

In another call, the ex-girlfriend told Samson, “every time they put you on the news they play that clip of you walking out. You look tall, you look black as f***, you look good as f***.”

The Samson we heard in these calls was very different from the one we’ve seen in court all week.

The court then took a quick break before closing statements.

The state spent much of their closing argument talking about the victims and their accounts of the incident as well as how they were affected since and explaining the charges Samson faced.

In the defense's argument, Samson was presented as having a mental illness which was the basis of their defense during the entire trial. They also denounced a lot of the prosecution's testimony, the questions Samson was asked when he was on the stand, the calls the prosecution selected to present stating they were not relevant to the case, and denounced the state's evidence. The defense stated the state only proved that he was suicidal and mentally ill when the crime happened.

Previous Coverage

Samson has previously pleaded not guilty. He had gone to the church a few times before the shooting. Police had found a note in his car, referencing Dylann Roof opening fire on a black church in Charleston, SC in 2015.

Melanie Crow was killed in the Antioch church shooting in the parking lot of the chapel. She was a beloved member and mother at the church. Minister Joey Spann was one of the seven people who was also injured in the shooting.

In a previous interview, Minister Spann told News4 that the recovery process had been slow but he and the rest of the congregation still remained faithful and prayed for the man charged in the shooting, Emanuel Samson.

Copyright 2019 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Reporter

Rebecca Cardenas is a Murrow-award winning journalist who joined News4 as a reporter in September 2017. She currently covers the court systems in Middle Tennessee.

WSMV Digital Content Producer

Joey is an award-winning Digital Content Producer on the WSMV Digital Team! A graduate of the University of South Carolina-Aiken, Joey joined WSMV in September 2018. He's happy to be Working 4 You!

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.