Jurors view mountain of evidence against Samson in day 2 of trial

Local News
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Jurors saw mountains of evidence on the second day of Emanuel Samson’s trial. Samson is charged with 43 counts in connection with the Burnette Chapel Church shooting.  

The jury saw photos of bloody pews and floors inside the church as well as bullet casings and bullet holes.  

Metro Police also pulled out the clothing the shooter was wearing that day – a tactical vest, a federal law enforcement training shirt and a joker-like mask.  

Witness after witness described seeing that mask. 

“He was wearing a mask and he was pretty tall, and he was holding a gun,” said church member Po Lin Lam. “It seems like he was looking for a target to shoot to me. Then I tried to hide because I didn’t want him to see me with my little one.” 

Officers found an AR-15 style rifle inside Samson’s Nissan X-Terra, as well as a pistol on the passenger floor and ammunition.  

They also found a handwritten note on his dashboard, which was on a ripped piece of notebook paper. 

“Dylan Roof is less than nothing. The blood that ten of your kind will shed is that of the color upon the RBG flag (in terms of vengeance). 1 up bitch :)”, read the note. 

Judge Cheryl Blackburn told the jury that Roof was convicted of killing nine black churchgoers in Charleston in 2015. The RBG flag was established in 1920 as a black liberation flag. 

The prosecution claims Samson went to the church that day to kill ten white church members.  

One woman was killed, 39-year-old Melanie Crow-Smith. Smith’s aunt described the moments she saw the shooter.  

“I took out running,” said Wilma Crow. “When I got to the kitchen, I said we’re sitting ducks. If the shooter comes out, he’ll see us. We ran out next door behind a shed.” 

Crow gave heart-wrenching testimony when two fellow congregants came out to her. 

“They said ‘we have something to show you,’” said Crow. “They took my arms and led me through the parking lot and when we got down there, she was like ‘This is Melanie.’ 

“I’m looking up and said where? She pointed down to the ground and I could see her hair. Her face was covered, and you could see she was shot in the back there was a big spot of blood where she bled out. I reached down and someone told me not to touch her.” 

Another church-goer said she came face-to-face with the joker-like mask the shooter was wearing. 

“I trip over my best friend and I stumble,” said Barbara Davis. “I turn because that person to me looked like he was running or at a good gait. I turn and look right into a white smile. It was right in my face.” 

Brenda Henderson said she decided to become a permanent member of the church that day but after the service, she heard gun shots and began running. 

“My first thought was, this not a nice thought, but that they weren’t running fast enough,” said Henderson. “And I thought if I pushed Tammy down that I could get passed them but then I thought I couldn’t live with myself if he shot tammy and not me because I could hear the shots as he was coming into the sanctuary, we could hear the additional shots.” 

The defense has done very little cross-examination because Samson’s attorneys do not argue that Samson was the shooter, but the defense and prosecution are arguing over motive.  

The trial picks back up Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. 

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