Attorney troubles for teen murder suspect

Larnell Sillah, from left, Achiel Morgan and Romaine Stewart

Larnell Sillah, from left, Achiel Morgan and Romaine Stewart


Anthony Lamar English

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Two of the teens charged in the robbery and murder of 14-year-old Paul Sampleton waived their arraignment hearings Thursday, as another made his issues retaining an attorney public.

Defendants Larnell Sillah and Achiel Morgan -- both juveniles -- were not present for Thursday's hearings in front of Gwinnett County Judge Debra Turner because they and their respective attorneys waived their appearance. Sillah, 16, is the lone suspect charged with murder in the case. Both Morgan, 15, and Romaine Stewart, 18, are charged with armed robbery, burglary and theft by taking.

Stewart was in court Thursday and entered a not guilty plea after clearing up some confusion about his attorney, or lack thereof. The teen's mother told Judge Turner that she had paid lawyer Curtis Hubbard to represent her son during previous bond hearings but "didn't come up with the funds he wanted" to retain him for the entirety of the case.

After presenting the option of a state-appointed attorney, Turner gave Stewart 30 days to figure out his situation and report back.

Sillah, Morgan and Stewart all remain in custody following the death of Sampleton, a Grayson High School freshman shot and killed inside his Haynescrest Drive home on Dec. 19. Authorities believe he was targeted by his schoolmates because of his expensive shoes, clothes and electronics.

A fourth defendant loosely connected to the murder case also entered a not guilty plea Thursday. Anthony Lamar English, 59, is charged with theft by receiving, false statements and marijuana possession. Police have previously testified that English, a Norcross resident, received items believed stolen from Sampleton's home.