PARKERSBURG, W.Va. - (WTAP) Update: 3/28/2018
A jury has decided against awarding mercy for Jeffery Sampson in the 2017 murders of Shawn and Brandy Hardman.
The jury reached its verdict after two hours of deliberations. It means Sampson will not be eligible for parole.
The jury Wednesday morning heard more testimony-this time from Sampson's friends and family members-all of whom said they knew him from childhood.
Sampson's father, Lyle, said he never saw him perform any physical violence against his ex-wife, Karen, and their children.
Moments later, however, Sampson described what happened in July, 2016, when he received a text message from his son, partly stating, "F--- you, Dad."
"I slapped him," he said, demonstrating.
"After that, did Karen do anything?", asked Defense Attorney Shane McCullough.
"She just stood there (with her mouth open), and she just went over and babied him".
"After that incident, did she get a protective order?", McCullough asked.
"Three days later."
"All centered around that incident you just described?"
"Yes", replied Sampson.
Sampson's father noted that, after Sampson had surgery for a tumor in his neck, followed by a diagnosis of lung cancer, he became more agitated than he did before.
And Lyle Sampson added his son felt remorse for the deaths of Shawn and Brandy Hardman in January, 2017.
The jury declined mercy for both of Sampson's first-degree murder convictions, for the deaths of the Hardmans.
Sampson is to be sentenced May 23
Update: 3/28/2018 12:25 P.M.
The penalty phase of Jeffery Sampson's murder trial began Wednesday morning.
Jurors heard testimony from the defendant and his family.
Sampson was described by friends and family as a jokester, a loving father, and, according to Sampson's father, remorseful at the deaths of Brandy and Shawn Hardman in January, 2017.
He also has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
But he also admitted to his own attorney, Shane McCullough, at slapping his 15-year old son in July, 2016, when he sent Sampson a text message containing a curse word.
That, Sampson said, led his ex-wife, Karen, to get a temporary protective order against him.
And, under cross-examination, Sampson admitted to, just Tuesday, using foul language against prosecutors and the jury after his conviction.
He added when he was indicted for the Hardmans' deaths, he was upset Karen Sampson and her boyfriend were laughing.
On Tuesday in Wood County Court, a jury found Jeffrey Sampson guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in the January, 2017 killings of Shawn and Brandy Hardman.
That, after a trial with testimony lasting nearly a week, and closing statements Tuesday afternoon lasting more than two hours.
In those closing statements, Prosecutor Pat Lefebure played portions of a conversation Sampson had with police. In those recordings, Sampson said he was "on a rampage" to get his former wife back, referring to "outside interferences", an apparent reference to the Hardmans, keeping him from doing that.
"He doesn't see Shawn and Brandy as mother and father, son, daughter," Lefebure told the jury. "He doesn't see them as people. They're merely a roadblock in his effort and his way to get back to Karen Sampson."
Sampson's defense attorney, Shane McCullough, meantime, questioned whether his ex-wife, Karen Sampson, believed she was in danger when Sampson showed up at her Mineral Wells home the morning of January 10, 2017.
"Here's a person that's supposedly being kidnapped, restrained against her will, fearful for her life," McCullough argued, "but yet, once she goes outside, she doesn't try to run."
There were also conflicting arguments as to whether and how Sampson drew a gun on Karen, and on the Hardmans when they arrived at the home at Karen's request, and as to whether Sampson thought his life was threatened by the Hardmans, both of whom died of gunshot wounds.
The jury also convicted Jeffery Sampson of kidnapping, wanton endangerment and use of a firearm in commission of a felony.
But the case is not over yet.
The jury is to return Wednesday morning, to consider whether Sampson will be given mercy.
That will involve hearing more evidence, in what could be described as a "mini-trial".
Testimony has ended in the double murder trial of Jeffrey Sampson.
The last person to take the witness stand was Sampson himself.
Although he stated he had never had any previous physical contact with victims Shawn and Brandy Hardman, Sampson also said he was "prepared for anything" when the couple arrived at his ex-wife's home the morning of the shootings.
He said his gun went off when he tried to force his way into a room where his Karen Sampson and the Hardmans had closed the door.
"Do you actually remember pulling the trigger?", asked Sampson's attorney, Shane McCullough.
"No, I don't, Sampson responded.
"Is it possible when your hand went into that door, the gun was grabbed by somebody?", McCullough asked.
"It's a possibility, yes," responded Sampson.
"What went through your mind?"
"What just happened here, it's a million thoughts; I can't describe which ones."
The Hardmans died in the shooting in January, 2017.
Closing statements and jury deliberations in the now one-week old trial are set for Tuesday.
On Monday, defense attorneys and witnesses for Jeffery Sampson continued their testimony in Sampson's double-murder trial.
Sampson was arrested and charged with the January 10, 2017 shooting deaths of Shawn and Brandy Hardman, at the Mineral Wells home of his ex-wife, Karen Sampson.
Sampson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, burglary, wanton endangerment and use of a firearm in committing a felony.
UPDATE: 3/23/2018 4:25 P.M.
Jeffrey Sampson's attorneys Friday began calling witnesses to the stand, in day three of testimony in his double murder trial.
Sampson's ex-wife, Karen, again took the stand Friday afternoon, this time called to the stand by defense attorneys.
Also on the stand were several of Jeff Sampson's friends and relatives, including his father, who said Sampson first shot a gun at the age of 6.
Lyle Sampson also said his son had a concealed carry permit, and regularly carried firearms.
A friend of Sampson's Zach Burdette, said that-days before the shootings-Sampson was threatened by a male and a female voice in a telephone call.
Burdette could not identify the voices.
The trial continues Monday morning.
Update: 3/22/2018 6:00 P.M.
In the second day of the double murder trial of Jeffrey Sampson, jurors heard testimony from his ex-wife-both in person and through a 911 call made the morning two of her friends were shot and killed.
The recordings of calls made during the time Shawn and Brandy Hardman were shot were played at the end of Thursday's proceedings.
The calls-made shortly after 8 A.M. on January 10, 2017, first came from Brandy Hardman.
She said Jeffrey Sampson threatened to shoot Karen Sampson, and that Hardman's husband, Jeff, was "calmly" trying to get Jeffrey out of Karen's Mineral Wells home.
A call moments later, from Karen Sampson, says Jeff had shot the Hardmans-and left in Karen's vehicle.
State Police officers who also testified late Thursday said Sampson was apprehended later the day of the shootings, after a 50-mile chase that ended at the Sutton Dam.
While being shown a photograph of Sampson with injuries around his eyes and face, the troopers all said they noticed no injuries to the suspect while he was in their custody.
UPDATE: 03/21/18 4:25 P.M.
Opening statements in the murder trial of Jeffrey Sampson in Wood County Circuit Court give different accounts of the morning two people were killed last year in Mineral Wells.
Prosecutors say Sampson hid in the bathroom of his ex-wife's home in January 2017 and held her against her will before he killed two of her friends.
But Sampson's attorney insisted to jurors Wednesday that he had no intention of doing any of those things.
There are also differing accounts about the confrontation between Sampson and the victims, Brandi and Shawn Hardman.
"They move quickly when they enter the house to verbally confront the defendant, and ask him why he was there,” Assistant Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Jeremy Wolfe said during opening arguments on Wednesday. “The confrontation never got physical. But the defendant responded by grabbing for a gun."
Sampson’s defense attorney Heather Nicholson said: "Shawn (Hardman, when he and his wife, Brandy, entered Karen Sampson's home) had no idea what this man is going to do to him. He had no idea if he is armed, and he is scared about what will happen."
Nicholson claimed Shane Hardman punched Sampson repeatedly, before he and Brandy ran into another room with Karen Sampson and closed the door. She says Jeffrey Sampson was trying to force his way into the room when his gun went off.
Sampson is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, burglary, wanton endangerment and use of a firearm in committing a felony.
Opening arguments in his trial took place on Wednesday after a day and a half of jury selection.
Witness testimony has begun and is expected to continue on Thursday.
The case is being heard in Judge Jason Wharton’s courtroom.
UPDATE: 3/20/2018 5:10 P.M.
Trial begins for a Mineral Wells man accused in the January, 2017 deaths of two people at the home of his estranged wife.
47-year old Jeffrey Sampson was in court Tuesday morning as jury selection began in his double murder trial.
Jury selection will continue Wednesday morning at nine, with opening statements possible by mid-to-late morning.
Sampson is accused of fatally shooting Brandy Hardman and Shawn Hardman at his estranged wife's mobile home on Nova Road in Mineral Wells.
A Wood County grand jury indicted Sampson on murder and other charges in May, 2017.
Karen Sampson testified in court today about the day her two friends, Brandy and Shawn Hardman were killed.
She says her husband was waiting for her in the shower when she returned home from dropping the kids off at the school bus stop on January 10th.
Sampson said he held her at the throat and then placed the gun at her temple several times, while telling her that their kids were going to be orphans that day.
Magistrate Jody Purkey Decided that there was probable cause to send the case to a Grand Jury. That's when the next phase of the case will be.
Accused double-murder suspect Jeffery Sampson remains held without bond in the North Central Regional Jail, after a bond hearing Friday.
During the hearing, new details emerged about the fatal incident.
According to Wood County's prosecuting attorney Pat Lefebure, Jeffery Sampson attempted to reconcile with his estranged wife, Karen Sampson the day before the murder but was unsuccessful. The next morning, he texted his wife 20 times. Karen took their 2 children to school that morning and when she got home, she had to fight for her life.
"She began her day doing chores and going through her normal day-to-day activities when she found the defendant hiding in her bathroom in the shower at that time he produced a firearm grabbed her by the throat and held her at gunpoint for a period of time," Lefebure said.
Lefebure says Karen was on the phone with her friend Brandy Hardman during the confrontation. After hearing the commotion over the phone, Brandy decided to respond to the scene with her husband Shawn.
Once in the Nova Road home, an altercation ensued and Shawn Hardman was shot once in the chest while Brandy was shot while trying to hide from the suspect.
Karen Sampson hid in the closet as her husband fled the scene.
Sampson's defense attorney asked Judge J.D. Beane Friday to grant his client home confinement but was denied.
Update: 1/11/2016 5:20 P.M.
Accused double-murder suspect Jeffery Sampson was arrested last summer after making threatening calls and text messages in violation of a protective order.
However, Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens says there was no such order in place at the time of Tuesday's killings.
An Aug. 1 post on the Sheriff's Office Facebook page said Sampson had continuously driven past the complainant's residence on Nova Road in Mineral Wells. That's the same area where Tuesday's shooting took place.
Stephens told The News Center Wednesday the protective order was issued for the safety of Sampson's wife, Karen, and her children.
Sampson was arrested last July 30 on charges of violation of the protective order.
There was no bond set at Sampson's initial arraignment Tuesday in Braxton County.
He is scheduled for a bond hearing Friday morning in Wood County Circuit Court.
UPDATE: 01/17/2010 5 P.M.
A Wood County man is in custody charged with two counts of first-degree murder following the shooting deaths of two people early today at a residence on Nova Road in Mineral Wells.
Jeffery Lyle Sampson, 46, of Oakbrook Drive, Mineral Wells, was arraigned in Braxton County Magistrate Court about 4 p.m. today following his arrest by West Virginia State Police near Sutton Lake in Braxton County.
A criminal complaint filed in Wood County Magistrate Court identified the victims as Brandy Lynn Hardman and Shawn Michael Hardman.
The complaint says Sampson’s estranged wife, Karen Dianne Sampson, called Brandy Hardman and asked her to come to her residence because her estranged husband was there.
Brandy Hardman and Shawn Hardman arrived at the residence on Nova Road and an altercation ensued that resulted in the shooting.
After the shooting, authorities including the Wood County Sheriff’s Office and state police began a multicounty manhunt that encompassed parts of Wood, Wirt, Calhoun, Roane, Gilmer and Braxton counties.
Mineral Wells Elementary, Parkersburg South High School, and all three Wirt Counties schools were on lockdown this morning as authorities searched for Sampson’s red Chevy Colorado pickup truck. Glenville State College in Glenville also was placed on lockdown for a short time.
State police troopers took Sampson into custody about 12:30 near Sutton Lake in Braxton County.
Sampson was taken to the Central Regional Jail in Flatwoods.
He will remain in jail until a preliminary hearing takes place circuit court.
West Virginia State troopers captured a man wanted in connection with a fatal shooting this morning in Mineral Wells.
Jeffery Sampson, 46, was captured about 12:30 p.m. near Sutton Lake in Braxton County, a State Police spokesman said.
Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens also confirmed the arrest and that a second person has died in the shooting, which happened about 8 a.m. today on Nova Road in Mineral Wells.
The second victim died after being taken to Camden Clark Medical Center.
The identities of the victims have not been released.
The Wood County Sheriff's Office, the West Virginia State Police and authorities in several counties had been conducting a manhunt for Sampson.
No officers were injured during the arrest, the State Police spokesman says.
Mineral Wells Elementary and Parkersburg South High School were placed on lockdown after the shooting, but that order has been lifted at both schools.
Wirt County schools also were locked down briefly shortly after the shooting occurred.
Stay tuned to WTAP News at 5 and 6 and logon to www.thenewscenter.tv for more updates.
UPDATE: 01/17/2017 12:05 P.M.
A lockdown at Mineral Wells Elementary School remains in place this afternoon as authorities look for a person of interest in a fatal shooting that also left one person hospitalized.
Parkersburg South High School also was locked down after the shooting on Nova Road about 8 a.m., but that order has been lifted.
Authorities are looking for 46-year-old Jeff Sampson, who's described as as white, 5-foot-10, 220 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes.
He is thought to be driving a red Chevy Colorado pickup with camo flaring around the wheels and camo trim. The license plate on the vehicle is W.Va. 7ZR869.
Authorities consider him to be armed and dangerous.
UPDATE: 1/10/2017 10:51 a.m.
A person of interest has been named in a fatal shooting in Mineral Wells this morning.
Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens says his office is looking for 46 year old Jeff Sampson in connection with the shooting that took place this morning at a trailer at 249 Nova Road.
The shooting took place around 8:00 a.m.
Sheriff Stephens says one person is dead and a second patient is being treated at an area hospital.
Authorities are not releasing the names of the victims at this time as they are still notifying their families.
Jeff Sampson is a white male. He is 5 foot 10 inches tall and 220 pounds with green eyes and brown hair. He does wear glasses as well.
Stephens says he is driving a red 2004 Chevy Colorado with camo flaring around the wheels and camo trim.
The license plate on the vehicle is 7ZR869.
The Sheriff’s Department is working on several leads, but have nothing specific at this time.
Sheriff Stephens says Sampson should be considered armed and dangerous.
Mineral Wells Elementary and Parkersburg South High School remain on lockdown as the search continues for Sampson.
UPDATE: 01/10/2017 10:30 PM
Authorities investigating a shooting this morning in Mineral Wells have issued a 'be-on-the-lookout" order for a suspect.
According to the Wood County 911 center, the suspect might be driving a red Chevrolet Colorado pickup and could be in the Calhoun County area.
The shooting happened shooting happened abound 8 a.m. today on Nova Road in Mineral Wells.
At least one person was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Mineral Wells Elementary and Parkersburg South High schools remained on lockdown as of 10:30 a.m., thought the incident does not involved either school.
Wirt County schools were briefly placed on lockdown after the shooting, but the order has been lifted.
Authorities are responding to a shooting on Nova Road in Mineral Wells.
Wood County dispatchers says at least one victim has been transported to the hospital.
Officials are still attempting to locate the suspect.
Mineral Wells Elementary and Parkersburg South High School are currently on lockdown as a precaution. The incident does not involve either school.