Attorney tries to ban media from Sampleton case

Larnell Sillah

Larnell Sillah

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Media will not be banned from further court proceedings for Larnell Sillah, the now-16-year-old charged in the December murder of Grayson teen Paul Sampleton Jr.

Sillah's attorney, Thomas West, argued before Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Debra Turner Friday morning that media should not be permitted to cover pre-trial hearings in the case. In a dual motion that also asked that his client be able to wear street clothes during hearings -- as opposed to the typical orange jumpsuit -- West said it was important that cameras be banned so that Sillah "not be portrayed as a guilty criminal while he's in court."

West also asked that the Gwinnett County Police Department be ordered not to release any more information regarding the case, particularly the suspected motive of sneaker-driven robbery. He cited a professional conduct code that prosecutors not release prejudicial information on cases.

Turner denied the motion without further comment.

Assistant District Attorney Jimmie Baggett did offer his two cents.

"The police department doesn't work for the DA's office," he said. "They're not lawyers, we are, and we follow the rules."

Sillah was arrested in February alongside Achiel Morgan, 15, and Romaine Stewart, 18, and is the lone suspect charged with murder in Sampleton's death. Sampleton, a freshman at Grayson High School, was found bound and shot inside his Haynescrest Drive home on Dec. 19, and authorities believe the trio targeted him for his expensive shoes and clothes.