Teens on trial for Gwinnett killing over sneaker collection

Teens on trial for Gwinnett killing over sneaker collection

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Prosecutors described how three men killed a teen for his high end shoe collection as their trial started in Gwinnett County Monday.

The mother of 14-year-old Paul Sampleton Jr. gave Channel 2 Action News new pictures of her late son as she listened to testimony.

Sampleton's death and the high-end shoes he collected are at the heart of the murder trial.

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Three men, Andrew Murray Tavaughn Saylor and Larnell Sillah are accused of breaking into Sampleton's townhouse, ransacking the home and shooting Sampleton in the head in December 2012. 

Channel 2’s Tony Thomas was the only TV reporter in the courtroom as one of the defendants argued his own case before the jury.

Murray is representing himself in the case. He started with a few unusual statements.

At one point, Murray said prosecutors are going to try to compare him to Hitler, which he says he is not.

Murray told the jury in his opening statement, “During this trial, they are going to disrespect me by calling me a gangbanger and a murderer. Yeah, I did stupid stuff in the past, but I’m not an animal, a killer or a gang member.”

Prosecutor Mike Morrison had already called Murray, Saylor and Sillah murderers and gang members, insisting he’ll have overwhelming evidence tying them to a series of crimes linking to the death.

“This is a case that can be summarized with one word: evil. This is a case about greed and money,” Morrison said.

Prosecutors also talked about something the suspects left on a bathroom mirror before leaving. Channel 2's Tony Thomas will have that video on Channel 2 Action News at 4.