NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Convicted Antioch church shooter, Emanuel Samson is facing life in prison for carrying out the 2017 crime. At the start of Friday’s sentencing hearing, his family argued that Samson is a victim of his childhood and mental illness.
Samson’s sister, Christina, described their childhood as a nightmare.
“My mother, she got married young to my dad. And my dad had alcohol problems and my mom had anger problems – so it was like cats and dogs always fighting….abusive…verbally and physically.”
On the witness stand, Christina walked jurors through the abuse she and her brother witnessed and endured throughout much of their childhood.
Samson’s attorney said he was suffering from mental health issues the morning he opened fire inside the church.
The defense hopes testimony from his sister will keep Samson from spending the rest of his life behind bars.
“She has a scar on her forehead because he broke a glass bottle on her forehead.”
Throughout the week-long trial, the defense argued that Samson is mentally ill and has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and PTSD, all due to a violent childhood.
Christina said, “My brother has a mark on his back from the back of the belt where she (their mother) used to whip him. And myself, I have two cut marks on my knee from being cut with a knife for a discipline.”
Christina said her brother needed help for his issues. She added that she believes his mental health was ignored by everyone.
Through tears, she said, “If I would’ve responded to him, we wouldn’t be here. He was crying out for help and I wasn’t there.”