Jurors on Thursday 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 as the Nashville trial of 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson approached its close.
A transcript of the calls shows Samson said he heard the shooting victims saying “some funny (expletive)” when he was on the floor of Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in September 2017 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.”
“When I put the two bullets in my chest and laid down and I was on the floor and I could hear what everyone was saying and some people were saying some funny (expletive) bruh and, I was like if Maya were here listening to y’alls whack (expletive), bruh,” Samson said in one call.
Samson also says in the calls that he wanted to intimidate jail guards, saying he had an “intense African look.” And the couple also brags about how good Samson looked in news coverage.
“Big sexy, hashtag, hashtag,” Samson said in that call.
Prosecutors played the calls to rebut Samson’s previous testimony denying such comments.
Defense attorney Jennifer Lynn Thompson said those were just a handful of 1,500 jail calls by Samson. She pointed out how quickly Samson was speaking in the calls, saying he sounds like someone who is manic.
Prosecutors said the calls indicate Samson wasn’t suicidal that day; the defense argued the exact opposite.
Prosecutors are seeking life without parole for Samson, who has been charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in a 43-count indictment.
Samson is black and the victims are white. Samson left a note about a 2015 shooting massacre at a South Carolina black church and aimed to kill at least 10 white churchgoers in revenge, Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter said.
Thompson described the note as the ramblings of someone with schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder who was having hallucinations.
Samson testified that he didn’t remember committing the crime. He said his mental health disorders have caused lapses in memory and constant shifts from feelings of ecstasy to the thoughts of suicide he said he experienced the morning of the shooting. He said he’s on medication now in jail and his thoughts have “slowed down drastically.”
Prosecutors have said Samson was conveniently choosing which details he could recall.