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3 GHS Students Arrested in Shooting Death of 14-year-old Paul Sampleton

Police believe robbery was the objective. The students were aware Sampleton traded in high-end sneakers.

LOGANVILLE, GA -- Gwinnett County Police announced Friday that three teens have been arrested in connection with the of Grayson. Officials say all three were fellow students at Grayson High School.

Arrested and in custody are Larnell Sillah, 15, charged with homicide; and Romaine Stewart, 18, and Achiel Morgan, 15, both charged with armed robbery. Sillah and Morgan have been charged as adults, according to officials.

"Detectives believe the motive for this crime was robbery," GCPD spokesman Jake Smith said in a press release. "The suspects knew that Paul Sampleton traded in high-end sneakers and possessed nice clothing and electronics."

Sampleton, a student at GHS, was discovered by his father bound and shot, at about 2:40 p.m. on the last day of school before the Christmas break.  

Smith said witnesses reported seeing a silver BMW passenger car near the victim’s home in the days leading up to the homicide, and on the day of the homicide. 

From the release:

"Detectives followed up on the suspicious vehicle and determined it was connected with a house at 3001 Farmstead Court, Snellville, GA. This location is less than ½ mile from the incident location. Based on the vehicle and evidence obtained through additional investigation, detectives obtained a search warrant.  No one was charged at that time.  Due to sensitive circumstances surrounding this investigation, no information was released on the search warrant at the time."

Further investigation led detectives to Stewart and Morgan. "There was sufficient evidence to charge them in the armed robbery of Paul Sampleton, however they have not been charged with the homicide," the release says.

Smith said a A warrant was obtained to charge him with homicide Friday morning. Smith said all three suspects are in custody, without bond.

See also:

  • A Mother's Anguish - Candlelight Vigil for 14-year-old Victim
Kim Lee February 10, 2013 at 01:12 PM
By the way, I really wish this was not a place to leave such blatant comments of hatred....especially when referring to kids.
Nadine February 10, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Tammy, I believe the other 2 boys will be charged with murder, and more kids are going to be arrested. It's obvious that either one or both of the other suspects were given a fake early deal to get them to talk. When the police gets enough information, they'll all go down for murder.
Edward February 10, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Sadly Michael he was the only child, and a really great kid for that matter. Good student and with many friends. Trading sneakers is actually pretty neat, no different from trading baseball cards. It's just tragic is all!!
Nadine February 10, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Tammy, will this scenario ever stop playing out? Everything I hear about Paul is that he's a sweet kid. He likes to laugh and never hurt anyone. Didn't this earth need this nice kid to grow old and have kids?
Edward February 10, 2013 at 02:02 PM
It's understandable how this might appear odd but it turns out it was nothing but a targeted robbery. I do however agree that gangs in our communities have taken on a whole new face. Either way, I'm glad they're being brought to justice.
Edward February 10, 2013 at 02:15 PM
This had nothing to do with his parents who by the way were doing a great job raising their son as co-parents. Both Dad and Mom were very involved and available parents so please don't you dare blame this on the parents. As far as the gangs go Jose you'll be surprised which kids join gangs in Gwinnett. This is not some ghetto where kids are left no choice but to join gangs to fit in. We have tons of activities and programs that most if not all parents get their kids into. What you need to do is invite one of our fine law enforcement officers over to introduce you to the new trend in gang signs and graffiti, this way you can keep a watchful eye on your kids social media, laptops, phones and stuff in their bedrooms for signs they might be joining or be recruited by gangs in our area. A large number of gang members come from middle class two parent homes and actually go to school and maintain good grades. In the gangs they seem to take on mob psychology and will participate in just about anything the gangs does.
Sharon Swanepoel February 10, 2013 at 02:18 PM
The investigation is ongoing, so I expect more charges to be filed and possibly more arrests too.
Edward February 10, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Tammy I couldn't agree with you more and I like your comment about wannabe gang members. I visited a friend in one of our high end 800+K gated communities ,to play pool with the guys. All of us dads, some in law enforcement and one of our buddies who is with the FBI pointed out some facts that left us all speechless. Several of the trees by the roadside in the lavish neighborhood had gang signs and a few of the bed room windows had displays of a key group in the area. About 7 of the guys lived in the development and insisted that we learn more so we went for an evening walk and were introduced to a sophisticated yet out in the open gang infiltration. What starts as a group of kids skateboarding grows into wannabes that think it's cool being in a gang. While most don't start off with a crime filled agenda some end up going down that path. I've since had my HOA invite SPD Gang Task Force officers to talk to the parents about gang violence, signs, graffiti and what to do if you suspect your son/daughter might be in a gang. The best deterrent is an engaged well informed parent. Tammy, thanks for sharing that story. Unfortunately there a lot more just like that and I hope as more parents increase their gang awareness we'll have less violence. Law Enforcement can only do so much, we as parents need to get more engaged. This comment is directed at the issue of gangs and not at Paul's parents.
Edward February 10, 2013 at 04:25 PM
Like TJ all I have to add is "Parenting is not for Cowards"! My rule is simple, I'd rather be blamed for doing way to much and being way to involved and engaged than being a cool BFF to my daughter and two boys. I restrict, then I restrict some more, monitor, log, set alerts, and then I meet all your so-called friends and their parents and get to know them too. You can never yield as a parent. Thanks to Parental Controls and System Security my wife and I take the time to bring all the tools at our disposal to bare if it means we'll be adding some value to our kids future. I'd like to add one more thing though, in my experience even the best kids have gotten distracted by the most over looked culprit...FRIENDS!!! Peer pressure is a conundrum adults struggle with at work, imagine how much more difficult it is for our kids. Get to know their friends and their families intimately. My mother always said, "your best friend is now my best friend and their parents automatically become my business!" Never quite understood her logic until I had kids of my own. A family friend let her son have sleep overs until her son came home one time and when she tried to discipline him he pinned her to the ground saying you don't tell me what to do b.....! We later learned that his best friends dad beat his wife, this kids mother over and over and taught his son that women had no place talking back to men etc. Our friends kid tried that once and his dad set him straight, he's in college now
Racer X February 10, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Amy and Jay- The Black population makes up 12.9% of the US yet commit 50% of the murders. 90% of the people the Black population kills are Black. These are facts. This is highly disproportionate and a national tragedy. Also, read the comments left by readers of this article on Bill Cosby: http://www.examiner.com/article/bill-cosby-speaks-bluntly-about-black-people-and-education. Hip-hop gangsters are glorified, Black-attitude is praised and kids are dying.
Amy February 10, 2013 at 05:03 PM
I've been saying the schools should implement uniforms, but nobody listens. They wear uniforms at the alternative schools. And the boys can't sag at the alternative schools either. It's way too distracting for kids to focus on their lessons when the fashion Police is there waiting to ticket them for fashion faux pas.
Michelle Couch February 10, 2013 at 05:17 PM
I really have to disagree with the 'ban Air Jordan and designer sneaker" comment. What's next - Coco Chanel and Louis Vuitton? Accountability must be placed on the individuals involved, not tangible merchandise. As for the investigation; I hope that the police have the the proper evidence necessary to secure hard convictions so that these murderers are put away long enough to learn a very valuable lesson! Thou shall not murder!
Ana February 10, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Lets blame the parents the mother of one of the kids is a Christian single woman who has done her best to raise her child / don't believe everything you hear in the news what happen to inocent until proven guilty /our coumnity is hurting our kids are hurting we stood by a screaming mother loosing her child we stood by our kids in tears and hurt and trying to comfort them now we stand by a mother who I know for years who son I take to church and is part of the family once again we stand in tears once again our kids and hurt and disbelieve we need prayers for our kids only God knows the truth so we stand btween 2 mothers one woman who will never see her child and one mother who never see her child again and may be wrongly accuse /
Ana February 10, 2013 at 11:49 PM
Lets blame the parents the mother of one of the kids is a Christian single woman who has done her best to raise her child / don't believe everything you hear in the news what happen to inocent until proven guilty /our coumnity is hurting our kids are hurting we stood by a screaming mother loosing her child we stood by our kids in tears and hurt and trying to comfort them now we stand by a mother who I know for years who son I take to church and is part of the family once again we stand in tears once again our kids and hurt and disbelieve we need prayers for our kids only God knows the truth so we stand btween 2 mothers one woman who will never see her child and one mother who may never see her child again and may be wrongly accuse / lets blame the absent fathers in their lives why don't we
Tammy Osier February 11, 2013 at 02:29 AM
Ana is right - all of this needs to be covered in prayer. It's a bad situation all the way around.
Karen February 11, 2013 at 02:11 PM
What a senseless loss. First, the young man who was murdered over SNEAKERS; now three teens who will likely spend the rest of their lives (if they are not behind bars and, actually even if they are), as career criminals. As they are all being charged as adults, and this does appear to have been premeditated from what I've read, that is first degree murder and if the prosecutor chooses, they could all end up with a death penalty sentence. Their families must be in shock, who could or would imagine their child having done something like this? My hopes and prayers are with all of the families, but especially to Paul's family.
Karen February 11, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Amy, are you serious? Ban designer sneakers? Please tell me you're joking. The sneakers were not a weapon, the three young men that were arrested are! "Michael Jordan has Paul's blood on his hands"? Following this logic, if someone steals a designed purse, is that designer the cause of the problem? What about personal responsibility, morals, and just plain old knowing right from wrong? Something was definitely wrong here, but it's not the sneakers. It was the minds of the murderers, who thought nothing of killing a young boy, because they wanted his shoes.It could have been anything, (clothes, car, stereo, video console, TV), it just happened to MJ sneakers in this particular case. Anyone with a working conscience knows you don't kill other people. I'm sure they didn't think they would be caught, but they have been, likely because they bragged about what they did to someone who did have a conscience and reported it.
Karen February 11, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Amy, I'm sure that John is pointing out that if this had happened if the criminals had been white, there would be a huge uproar, this story would be all over the media, and Revs. Jackson and Sharpton would have been leading the march. Because all of the young men in this story are the same race, they won't mention it, get involved in it, or bring it to national attention.
Amy February 11, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Karen, People of different race commit crimes against one another all the time. Here's where Al and Jesse get involved: If an unarmed teenager gets shot by an adult of any race, and no one is charged or arrested, then we call Big Mouth Al, and Annoying Jesse. In this case, there's an arrest. Al and Jesse's work have been done. ARE WE CLEAR NOW?
Amy February 11, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Since we're posting statistics: "According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Report database, in 2010 58% of hate crime offenders were white (including latinos), 18% of offenders were black, 8.9% were of individuals of multiple races and 1% of offenders were Native Americans.[23] The report also reveals that 48% of all hate crime offenders were motivated by the victim's race, while 18% were based on the victim's religion, and another 18% were based on the victim's sexual orientationThe report states that among hate crime offenses motivated by race, 70% were composed of anti-black bias, while 17.7% were of anti-white bias, and 5% were of anti-Asian or Pacific Islander bias." Here's another one: "A 2010 United States Department of Justice report which surveyed homicide statistics during the year of 2010 reports that the 49% of all murder or manslaughter arrests were of white individuals. 48% of murder or manslaughter arrests were of black individuals." So here's my point Racism X, you can post statistics about another race to make yourself better, but anyone can counter that with statistics that show otherwise. Right now, there are two people who lost a child. There's another set of family who lost their children to the system. Let's show some compassion and respect for these people and stop the ugliness. As a community, we have to take a hard look at ourselves and figure out what's going on w/our children. This must NEVER happen again.
Sharon Swanepoel February 11, 2013 at 03:42 PM
This is a sad situation all around and I would ask that everyone be respectful of the people involved. Please refer to our terms of engagement and avoid making any statements that are in violation.
Richard February 11, 2013 at 06:51 PM
tj, A gun is only a weapon in the hands of one who wants to use it as one. Golf clubs, baseball bats, cars, kitchen knives, pens/pencils and even bare hands are just as much as a weapon as a gun.
Racer X February 11, 2013 at 09:16 PM
Amy- You can't win the statistics war, even with the dreaded racism card. Sure 49% of all murder arrests were White people and 48% were Black. The disparity is that Whites make up 72% of our population while Blacks make up just 12.9%. Thus, comparing the two groups, one group has a grossly higher propensity for murder than the other. If I were Black, my biggest concern would be the fact that my group not only murders at a much higher rate than the other and that they are achieving by murdering their own demographic. It's a real problem for Blacks and it's not the White guys fault. It's the fault of Hip-hop, gangster glorification, deterioration of family values and idol-ism of idiots like Kanye West. Which reminds me, Obama finally said something that unites this country, something every American can agree on, something that can bind us. He said "Kanye West is a Jack-ass".
Racer X February 11, 2013 at 09:31 PM
Amy- You can't win the statistics war, even with the dreaded racism card. Sure 49% of all murder arrests were White people and 48% were Black. The disparity is that Whites make up 72% of our population while Blacks make up just 12.9%. Thus, comparing the two groups, one group has a grossly higher propensity for murder than the other. If I were Black, my biggest concern would be the fact that my group not only murders at a much higher rate than the other but also that they are achieving this by murdering their own demographic. It's a real problem for Blacks and it's not the White guys fault. It's the fault of Hip-hop, gangster glorification, deterioration of family values and idol-ism of idiots like Kanye West. Which reminds me, Obama finally said something that unites this country, something every American can agree on, something that can bind us. He said "Kanye West is a Jack-ass". The above story is tragic on so many levels. At the end of the day, all we really know, is that a 14 year old boy is dead. He was tied up and murdered, and that is one of the saddest things I have heard since Sandy Hook. You are right, if the murderers where White, Revs Al and JJ would be all over it. It's just that this scenario is MUCH more likely to play out the way it did than the way AS and JJ would like it, and they don't seem to want to address this very real issue. If I am wrong, please provide a link showing these two "reverends" concerns for this issue.
LadyT February 12, 2013 at 06:18 PM
WOW WOW WOW @ some of this ignorant comments!!! Paul and the suspects attended school with my daughter. This senseless tradegy is too close to home. I''m numb and still can't wrap my brain around it all. God bless us all!
LadyT February 12, 2013 at 06:22 PM
Correction:Tragedy
Jenneh Doe March 03, 2013 at 10:08 PM
My cousin was in Paul's fourth period . She said that he used to make the whole class laugh. Too bad they won't get to have that anymore.
SMDH 130 March 23, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Reading all of this foolery just reminded me as to why I try not to read these blogs. Paul is my 14 yr old cousin. Paul and my son were born just 3 days apart. From the beginning of this tragedy all the way up to now, my cousin (Paul's mother), his father, our family has to try to find a way to go on with our lives. Paul was not a gang member, his parents raised him and trained him up the way he should go, he earned money to purchase his sneakers as well as his parents being the amazing parents they are did their job and provided for their child. It is sad that because of jealousy, greed and envy we will no longer see his handsome face again. What is even more astounding to me is some of these comments I have seen on this blog. All I can do is pray for the ignorant ones.
Michelle Couch March 23, 2013 at 06:42 PM
SMDH130, My heart grieves for your family's loss. I had a horrible nightmare last week about losing my son to a violent crime and I woke very upset. I couldn't get it out of my head for days. I can't even imagine living the pain of such a loss for real. My prayers go out to you all and I hope that the guilty are brought to justice. It is horrible the ignorance of society, and I am equally as sorry that your family must endure such cruel and uneducated remarks made on these message boards. However, freedom of speech, no matter how distasteful it may be - is a right worth protecting. I only wish society were more humane when exercising said freedom. A few years ago, I had my dream townhouse picked out in the very community where your cousin lives, had the application completed, but unfortunately it didn't work out. It is a lovely neighborhood, and I felt I would be very happy there. Met some nice folks while I was touring the open town homes there. By all the testimonies I have read about your young cousin, it seems that he was a fine young man. As the saying goes, "only the good die young." Again, my sincerest condolences to you and your family. May God bring you peace and comfort through the wonderful memories of your cousin, and knowing that you have a guardian angel in heaven.
Edward March 23, 2013 at 09:32 PM
@SMDH 130 - My sincere heart felt condolences to you and your family. I can't begin to imagine what it's been like for those that were close to this fine young man. I will keep you and your family and friends in my prayers. Never stop sharing your memories, fun times, laughter, jokes and stories of Paul. R.I.P. Paul!!

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