Jury finds man guilty in deadly Tennessee church shooting

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A Davidson County jury has found Emanuel Samson guilty of all 43 counts, including 1st-degree premeditated murder, in the 2017 shooting rampage at Burnett Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch. 

The jury considered 43 charges against him, ranging from 1st-degree murder to civil rights violations, attempted murder and aggravated assault

The 27-year old man had his head down and did not look at the jury as they read the verdict.

A sentencing hearing is expected to begin this afternoon to determine whether Samson will be sentenced to life in prison without parole. The District Attorney did not ask for the death penalty. 

Defense attorney Jennifer Thompson maintained that Samson is mentally ill and has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, as well as post-traumatic stress after a violent childhood. Thompson said he was suicidal, not homicidal. She argued for criminally negligent homicide, not murder.

Prosecutors sought life without parole. They said he conveniently invoked mental illness to avoid responsibility for the shooting spree. They honed in on all the times Samson said he did not remember shooting anyone, except himself. 

In an effort to contradict his testimony, they played a recording of a jailhouse phone call between Samson and his former girlfriend, Maya Hill, in which he was laughing and joking about the shooting.

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