LAWRENCEVILLE — Two “new” suspects — men previously tied to the crime, if only loosely — have been indicted in the December murder of Grayson teen Paul Sampleton Jr.
Indictments returned Wednesday by a Gwinnett County grand jury officially charged Andrew Richard Murray and Tavaughn Saylor with seven counts: murder, felony murder (two counts), armed robbery, burglary, false imprisonment and aggravated assault. The three Grayson High School students previously charged in the case were also indicted this week, 15-year-old Larnell Sillah being the only one facing murder charges.
Documents said Saylor, Murray and Sillah, the latter two an uncle-nephew duo, caused Sampleton’s death “by shooting him in the head.”
Though Murray and Saylor had not previously been charged in the case, officials had hinted at their alleged involvement. Murray was originally listed as a person of interest, and following Sampleton’s Dec. 19 murder — believed to be fueled by theft of the 14-year-old’s high-end sneakers, clothes and electronics — authorities believe they found at least one pair of his shoes inside the garage of a Farmstead Court home where the two older men had a makeshift living quarters.
Sillah lived in the same home with his mother. It is less than half a mile from the Haynescrest Drive townhome Sampleton shared with his own mother.
Several of the Sampletons’ neighbors reported seeing a silver BMW, later determined to be registered to Murray, driving down Haynescrest drive in the days and weeks preceding the homicide. A cleaning woman allegedly saw the same car leaving the townhome at about 1 p.m. the day of the crime.
That was roughly the same time a mail carrier reported hearing gunshots.
Less than an hour after the murder, the same BMW was involved in a road rage incident in Norcross, with a single shot fired by the vehicle’s driver. Within an hour of that, Murray and Sillah were reportedly at the Norcross apartment of Anthony Lamar English — a co-defendant charged with theft by receiving, false statements and drug possession — with goods to sell.
Those goods included a medium-sized “Billionaire Boys Club” sweatshirt, identical to the one Sampleton’s mother had reportedly purchased for her son just days earlier.
Murray, Saylor and Sillah were all indicted Wednesday on aggravated assault charges stemming from the road rage shooting.
During a Dec. 21 traffic stop, Murray reportedly fled on foot and was arrested and charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer. Saylor was arrested the same day and charged with no driver’s license, forgery and giving false information. They were both eventually released on bond.
Authorities have previously testified that they believe Sillah, Achiel Anthony Morgan and Romaine Christopher Stewart planned the robbery of Sampleton, an acquaintance at Grayson High School and on the football team, on the school bus.
But when asked about the actual murder during interrogations, Sillah reportedly pointed fingers.
“He’d say, ‘You have to talk to Drew or Ty about that,’” Det. Andrew Whaley said at a February hearing.
A Gwinnett County police spokesman said Wednesday he believed Murray and Saylor had both been taken into custody “in various locations.” Neither was listed as an inmate at the Gwinnett County jail as of early Wednesday evening.
In addition to the seven charges his elder counterparts are facing, Sillah has been charged with theft by taking, conspiracy to commit a crime, criminal gang activity and an additional count of burglary. Morgan and Stewart, 15 and 18 years old at the time of their arrests, respectively, were indicted only on robbery- and theft-related charges, as well as gang activity.
All three teens are believed to be members of the Young Wavy Goonz gang, of which Sillah is the alleged leader.