Teens on trial for Gwinnett killing over sneaker collection

Trio found guilty of killing Gwinnett teen for shoes

The three men accused of killing a Gwinnett County teenager for his collection of high-priced athletic shoes were found guilty Tuesday afternoon. All three were then sentenced to life in prison without parole, while still professing their innocence.

Paul Sampleton Jr., a 14-year-old student at Grayson High School, was shot three times in the head during a December 2012 robbery at his mother’s townhome. The freshman had been home only a matter of minutes after early release for the holidays before he was bound, shot and left to die in the kitchen of his townhome. Electronics and eight pairs of shoes were taken from the home, according to police.

Police charged a 15-year-old classmate, Larnell Sillah, Sillah’s uncle Andrew Murray, 28, and another man, Tauvaughn Saylor, 29, with Sampleton’s murder. Prosecutors said Murray was the triggerman.

A jury convicted all three Tuesday of 19 of 20 counts, including malice murder, four counts of felony murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, conspiracies, gang activity and a violation of the racketeering influenced and corrupt organizations act (RICO). The trio was found not guilty of a burglary occurring a few days prior to the killing.

The three suspects each received two life sentences, plus 120 years in prison.

During opening statements two weeks ago, Gwinnett Assistant District Attorney Mike Morrison told jurors, “This is a case that can be summarized with one word: Evil.”

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