by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A Gwinnett County judge denied bond for one of the teenagers accused of planning a deadly robbery over high-priced sneakers.
Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh was the only reporter in the courtroom Monday when the judge decided the evidence presented suggested 15-year-old Achiel Morgan was a potential danger to the community.
Morgan has no prior criminal record.
The defense made efforts to describe Morgan as a dedicated football player and church member, calling several character witnesses. As each testified, Morgan sat just feet away from the parents of his murdered football teammate.
Morgan is charged with armed robbery.
The victim, 14-year-old Paul Sampleton, was known for his elaborate sneaker collection.
Police say the Grayson High School freshman was tied up and shot to death inside his own home.
"He was instructed to follow Paul Sampleton home and get his address," Gwinnett police Sgt. Cloe Atkers testified in court.
Gwinnett police say Morgan admitted that was his role in the scheme, allegedly hatched by fellow gang members.
"Work ethic, team oriented, talks to other kids helps other kids,” said Morgan’s former coach Richard Pryor while on the stand.
Pryor says Morgan rose to team captain every four consecutive years.
"His teachers he always call him quarterback,” Morgan’s mother, Pauline Moore testified. “And I always find myself buying sports gears for him."
Moore also said her son is a baptized Christian and church member.
The judge denied his bond.
"He's where he should be and he should get real comfortable being there. Hopefully and preferably, he'll be there for a long time, all of them," said Sampleton’s mother, Stephanie Stone.
Stone and the victim's father, Paul Sampleton Sr., were in the courtroom, as they have been throughout this case.
Stone says it's tough to see Morgan sitting in the courtroom. She says he occasionally sat in her car when she drove him home from games.
"May 4 was my son's birthday. He would be 15 years old,” said Paul Sampleton Sr. “I'm going to have to have a birthday cake without my child."
Regarding the other defendants in the case, police charged 18-year-old Romaine Stewart with armed robbery and 15-year-old Larnell Sillah is charged with murder. Police have not identified a shooter. All were students at Grayson High School. Police say the robbery was planned on the school bus.
Police say the day of the murder, several pairs of sneakers and multiple electronics were missing from Sampleton's home.
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