Gunman in Nashville church shooting sentenced to life in prison

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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)

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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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