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Antioch, Tenn., church shooter sentenced to life in prison

By
Danielle Haynes
Emanuel Samson was sentenced to life in prison for the shooting that left one person dead. File Photo courtesy of the Metro Nashville Police Department
Emanuel Samson was sentenced to life in prison for the shooting that left one person dead. File Photo courtesy of the Metro Nashville Police Department

May 29 (UPI) -- A Tennessee jury has handed down a life sentence for a man who opened fire at an Antioch church in 2017, killing one woman and injuring seven others.

The sentence given Tuesday for Emanuel Samson, 27, includes no possibility of parole. Last week, the jury found him guilty of 43 charges, including one count of first-degree murder for the death of Melanie Crow. Samson shot her while she walked through the parking lot of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ on Sept. 24, 2017, and then walked into the church and opened fire, injuring seven others.

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In addition to the murder charge, the jury found him guilty of multiple counts of attempted murder, civil rights intimidation and aggravated assault.

Samson's attorneys said they plan to appeal the verdict.

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Members of the church said they felt relieved by the sentence.

"We were nervous going in but now I feel better. I have more peace," Armilla Bishop told WKRN-TV in Nashville. "The person I saw in that courtroom was a person that needed to be punished and go to jail for their actions. It was not the Emanuel that helped with Bible school, or ate with us, or pushed cars out of snow, or smiled when you said 'hello.' He had a big, bright smile. That was not the same person."

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Revenge was considered as a motive after police found a note in Samson's car mentioning the shooting by white supremacist Dylann Roof on June 18, 2015, which killed nine people at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

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Though he is a legal U.S. resident, officials said Samson, a native of Sudan, is not a citizen.

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