Gunman in Nashville church shooting sentenced to life in prison

Emanuel Kidega Samson testifies in his own defense Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. Samson is accused of fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church in 2017. Prosecutors have said they're seeking life without parole for Samson. (Shelley Mays/The Tennessean via AP, Pool)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee man convicted of murder in a 2017 Nashville church shooting will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A jury deliberated for less than two hours Tuesday before handing Emanuel Kidega Samson a sentence of life without parole for the murder of Melanie Crow.

His defense attorney presented evidence he suffered from severe mental illness. She said that even with parole the 25-year-old Samson would be 76 before he could leave prison.

Prosecutors asked the jury to remember Crow and the seven people who were injured during Samson’s rampage.

Samson left a note that suggested the shooting was payback for a 2015 massacre at a South Carolina black church. Samson is black and his victims were white.

He still faces sentencing on 42 additional counts, but those sentences will be largely symbolic.

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