NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on the Tennessee church shooting suspect’s trial (all times local):
A jury is considering whether to convict a man charged with fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville, Tennessee, church in 2017.
Jurors began deliberating 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson’s case Thursday afternoon after closing arguments. Samson was charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ shooting.
Churchgoers testified about witnessing the bloody scene.
Samson said he didn’t remember if he shot the churchgoers. Prosecutors argued that he was just saying that to avoid hard questions. Samson also testified about his mental illnesses, saying he felt suicidal that day.
Prosecutors are seeking life without parole. The defense has argued that Samson should be found guilty of criminally negligent homicide, not first-degree murder.
Samson is black and the victims white. A prosecutor said Samson left a note about a 2015 shooting massacre at a South Carolina black church and aimed to kill at least 10 white churchgoers.
Jurors have heard jail calls in which a suspect charged with fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church in 2017 laughs about it with his then-girlfriend.
The October 2017 calls were replayed in court Thursday. A transcript shows 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson said he heard the victims saying “some funny (expletive)” when he was on the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ’s floor after being shot during a tussle with a churchgoer.
Samson says in one of the calls that he and his then-girlfriend are able to “look at the humor in any situation.”
The two brag about how good Samson looked in news coverage. Samson also says in the calls that he wanted to intimidate jail guards.
Prosecutors played the calls to rebut Samson’s previous testimony denying he made such comments.