Emanuel Samson, 27, accused in 2017 Tennessee church shooting, set to begin trial as prosecutors seek life without parole
27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, who has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, faces a 43-count indictment, including a first-degree murder charge. Earlier in April, a 90-minute hearing was held when lawyers were arguing about factoring his mental health when it came to his May trial.
NASHVILLE: A man accused of fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church is headed to trial. Prosecutors have said they're seeking life without parole for 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, whose trial is slated to begin Monday.
Samson faces a 43-count indictment, including a first-degree murder charge, in the September 2017 shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. An arrest affidavit says Samson waived his rights and told police he arrived armed and fired at the church.
A psychiatrist has diagnosed Samson with schizoaffective disorder bipolar type and post-traumatic stress disorder after an abusive, violent upbringing. Samson is black and the victims are white. Authorities haven't definitively said whether they believe he targeted them based on race. Earlier in April a 90-minute hearing the Antioch church shooting was held when lawyers were arguing about factoring his mental health when it came to his May trial.
Dr. Stephen Montgomery, a psychiatrist and professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, diagnosed him with "schizoaffective disorder bipolar type" and post-traumatic stress disorder., reports the Tennessean. The doctor says Samson heard voices, hallucinated, had intense mood swings and held “delusional beliefs” about predicting the future and controlling people with his mind.
“He was not provided the appropriate treatment. The state did not intervene effectively enough to stop the abuse or neglect,” Montgomery said. Samson also "didn't get very sufficient mental health care."
"And so he continued to have the symptoms of these mental illnesses and was experiencing those up until the time of the incident."
Criminal Court Judge Cheryl Blackburn told potential jurors the trial could last for two weeks. Details about the case and the trial plans have been closely guarded after Blackburn sealed the case file in 2018.