NASHVILLE, Tenn.

The Latest on the Tennessee church shooting suspect’s trial (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

A jury is considering whether to convict a man charged with fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville, Tennessee, church in 2017.

Jurors began deliberating 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson’s case Thursday afternoon after closing arguments. Samson was charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ shooting.

Churchgoers testified about witnessing the bloody scene.

Samson said he didn’t remember if he shot the churchgoers. Prosecutors argued that he was just saying that to avoid hard questions. Samson also testified about his mental illnesses, saying he felt suicidal that day.

Prosecutors are seeking life without parole. The defense has argued that Samson should be found guilty of criminally negligent homicide, not first-degree murder.

Samson is black and the victims white. A prosecutor said Samson left a note about a 2015 shooting massacre at a South Carolina black church and aimed to kill at least 10 white churchgoers.

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2:25 p.m.

Jurors have heard jail calls in which a suspect charged with fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church in 2017 laughs about it with his then-girlfriend.

The October 2017 calls were replayed in court Thursday. A transcript shows 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson said he heard the victims saying “some funny (expletive)” when he was on the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ’s floor after being shot during a tussle with a churchgoer.

Samson says in one of the calls that he and his then-girlfriend are able to “look at the humor in any situation.”

The two brag about how good Samson looked in news coverage. Samson also says in the calls that he wanted to intimidate jail guards.

Prosecutors played the calls to rebut Samson’s previous testimony denying he made such comments.

Source: Fox News National

The nation’s largest Protestant denomination is reporting its twelfth year of declining memberships.

On Thursday, the Southern Baptist Convention reported total membership for 2018 at 14.8 million, down about 192,000 from the previous year.

Baptisms also declined by about 7,600 to 246,442.

Scott McConnell is director of the SBC’s Lifeway Research, which reported the data. He says baptisms have declined in eight of the last 10 years and are down more than 100,000 from 2009. Baptisms are an important measure for a denomination with a strong commitment to evangelism.

McConnell says Southern Baptist leaders view the declines as a wake-up call.

The denomination also saw the number of affiliated churches drop slightly for the first time since 1998. The SBC had 51,541 total congregations in 2018.

Source: Fox News National

The Latest on the trial of man charged in a 2017 Tennessee church shooting (all times local):

10:45 a.m.

A prosecutor says a black man charged with fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church aimed to kill at least 10 white churchgoers and cited a 2015 massacre at a black church in South Carolina.

Nashville Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter made the comments Monday during opening statements of the trial of 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson. Prosecutors have said they’re seeking life without parole for Samson, who faces a 43-count indictment, including a first-degree murder charge, in the September 2017 shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.

Samson is black and the victims are white. Hunter mentioned a note in Samson’s car that cited a white supremacist’s massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

An arrest affidavit says Samson waived his rights and told police he arrived armed and fired at Burnette.

Samson’s attorney, Jennifer Lynn Thompson, said Samson was suicidal and wanted to die that day.

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12 a.m.

A man accused of fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church is heading to trial.

Prosecutors have said they’re seeking life without parole for 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, whose trial is slated to begin Monday.

Samson faces a 43-count indictment, including a first-degree murder charge, in the September 2017 shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.

An arrest affidavit says Samson waived his rights and told police he arrived armed and fired at the church.

A psychiatrist has diagnosed Samson with “schizoaffective disorder bipolar type” and post-traumatic stress disorder after an abusive, violent upbringing.

Samson is black and the victims are white. Authorities haven’t definitively said whether they believe he targeted them based on race.

Source: Fox News National

The Latest on the trial of man charged in a 2017 Tennessee church shooting (all times local):

10:45 a.m.

A prosecutor says a black man charged with fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church aimed to kill at least 10 white churchgoers and cited a 2015 massacre at a black church in South Carolina.

Nashville Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter made the comments Monday during opening statements of the trial of 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson. Prosecutors have said they’re seeking life without parole for Samson, who faces a 43-count indictment, including a first-degree murder charge, in the September 2017 shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.

Samson is black and the victims are white. Hunter mentioned a note in Samson’s car that cited a white supremacist’s massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

An arrest affidavit says Samson waived his rights and told police he arrived armed and fired at Burnette.

Samson’s attorney, Jennifer Lynn Thompson, said Samson was suicidal and wanted to die that day.

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12 a.m.

A man accused of fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church is heading to trial.

Prosecutors have said they’re seeking life without parole for 27-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson, whose trial is slated to begin Monday.

Samson faces a 43-count indictment, including a first-degree murder charge, in the September 2017 shooting at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ.

An arrest affidavit says Samson waived his rights and told police he arrived armed and fired at the church.

A psychiatrist has diagnosed Samson with “schizoaffective disorder bipolar type” and post-traumatic stress disorder after an abusive, violent upbringing.

Samson is black and the victims are white. Authorities haven’t definitively said whether they believe he targeted them based on race.

Source: Fox News National

A Tennessee district attorney is facing calls to resign after posting several anti-Islam remarks to social media.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced Friday that it was asking for Tennessee’s Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott to resign. The advocacy group also said it was asking the Tennessee Republican Party to “repudiate” Northcott for posting the remarks.

According to screenshots of the posts, Northcott wrote in a Facebook comment that the Islam belief system is “evil, violent and against God’s truth” and that being Muslim is no different than “being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc.” Northcott made the comments while responding to a Republican candidate’s post in late April.

Northcott’s office did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Source: Fox News National

A Tennessee district attorney is facing calls to resign after posting several anti-Islam remarks to social media.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations announced Friday that it was asking for Tennessee’s Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott to resign. The advocacy group also said it was asking the Tennessee Republican Party to “repudiate” Northcott for posting the remarks.

According to screenshots of the posts, Northcott wrote in a Facebook comment that the Islam belief system is “evil, violent and against God’s truth” and that being Muslim is no different than “being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc.” Northcott made the comments while responding to a Republican candidate’s post in late April.

Northcott’s office did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Source: Fox News National

A Tennessee inmate scheduled to be executed in October has died in prison less than a day after a fellow inmate was executed.

The Tennessee Department of Correction says 64-year-old Charles Wright was pronounced dead of natural causes at 11:57 a.m. on Friday at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. Wright’s attorneys had previously sought his release, saying he was dying of cancer.

Wright was convicted in the 1984 shooting death of two men in a Nashville park during a drug deal.

Fellow inmate Don Johnson was pronounced dead after a lethal injection at 7:37 p.m. on Thursday. Johnson’s attorney said after his death that she believed gasping noises he was making during the execution indicated that the 68-year-old was suffering.

Autopsies are planned for both men.

Source: Fox News National

A Tennessee inmate scheduled to be executed in October has died in prison less than a day after a fellow inmate was executed.

The Tennessee Department of Correction says 64-year-old Charles Wright was pronounced dead of natural causes at 11:57 a.m. on Friday at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. Wright’s attorneys had previously sought his release, saying he was dying of cancer.

Wright was convicted in the 1984 shooting death of two men in a Nashville park during a drug deal.

Fellow inmate Don Johnson was pronounced dead after a lethal injection at 7:37 p.m. on Thursday. Johnson’s attorney said after his death that she believed gasping noises he was making during the execution indicated that the 68-year-old was suffering.

Autopsies are planned for both men.

Source: Fox News National

The Latest on the scheduled execution of a Tennessee man who suffocated his wife (all times local):

9:15 p.m.

A lawyer for a Tennessee inmate who was executed by lethal injection says she believes he suffered excruciating pain during the process.

Kelley Henry said after the execution Thursday night that restraints and a partially blocked view of 68-year-old Don Johnson prevented her from seeing whether he was displaying signs of consciousness.

But Henry said she believes the gurgling, gasping noises he was making were an indication that he could feel the pain of the three drugs. Henry said she believes Johnson would have felt like he was drowning, being buried alive and then burned.

Johnson was executed for suffocating his wife in 1984.

Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor read a statement from Connie Johnson’s sister, Margaret Davis, calling for changes in the criminal justice system because of appeals that delayed the death sentence. She said her sister’s death was “inhumane and indescribable.”

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8:15 p.m.

A Tennessee inmate uttered a long prayer asking for forgiveness as he prepared to be executed.

In his dying moments at a Nashville prison Thursday night, 68-year-old Don Johnson asked the warden if he could sing, and he sang two hymns. The last words observers could hear were “no more dying here.”

Johnson was executed for suffocating his wife in 1984 at a camping center he managed in Memphis.

Religious leaders had asked Gov. Bill Lee to spare Johnson’s life, but the governor declined to intervene. Supporters of clemency said Johnson had undergone a religious conversion and cited his Christian ministry to fellow inmates. Johnson was an ordained elder of the church in Nashville.

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7:45 p.m.

Tennessee has executed a man convicted of killing his wife decades ago at a camping center he managed in Memphis.

Sixty-eight-year-old inmate Don Johnson was pronounced dead at 7:37 p.m. Thursday following a lethal injection at a maximum-security prison in Nashville. He drew the death sentence for the 1984 suffocation death of his wife, Connie.

Johnson became the fourth person executed in Tennessee since August. The two inmates executed before him in Tennessee chose the electric chair, saying they believed it offered a quicker and less painful death than the state’s default method, a three-drug lethal injection.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee recently declined clemency requests for Johnson from religious leaders including the president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, of which Johnson is a member.

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3:45 p.m.

The Nashville church where a Tennessee death row inmate is an ordained elder is honoring the man’s last wish by planning a community meal for the homeless.

Inmate Don Johnson’s attorneys say that rather than request a special last meal, he asked supporters to provide a meal to a homeless person. Johnson is scheduled to be executed Thursday evening for suffocating his wife in 1984 at a camping center he managed in Memphis.

Johnson’s wish was inspired by another death row inmate whose request to have a pizza delivered to a homeless person prompted people across the country to deliver pizzas to homeless shelters.

A vigil ahead of the inmate’s scheduled execution is planned at the Riverside Chapel Seventh-day Adventist Church. The church is collecting grocery gift cards for a meal for the homeless next week.

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12:30 a.m.

A man convicted of killing his wife decades ago at a camping center he managed in Memphis is set for execution in Tennessee.

Sixty-eight-year-old inmate Don Johnson is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday evening for the 1984 suffocation death of his wife, Connie.

Johnson would be the fourth person executed in Tennessee since August, barring a last-minute stay. The last two inmates executed in Tennessee chose the electric chair, saying they believed it offered a quicker and less painful death than the state’s default method, a three-drug lethal injection.

Gov. Bill Lee declined clemency requests for Johnson from religious leaders including the president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, of which Johnson is a member.

Alabama is also scheduled to carry out a lethal injection Thursday evening .

Source: Fox News National

The Latest on the scheduled execution of a Tennessee man who suffocated his wife (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

A Tennessee inmate uttered a long prayer asking for forgiveness as he prepared to be executed.

In his dying moments at a Nashville prison Thursday night, 68-year-old Don Johnson asked the warden if he could sing, and he sang two hymns. The last words observers could hear were “no more dying here.”

Johnson was executed for suffocating his wife in 1984 at a camping center he managed in Memphis.

Religious leaders had asked Gov. Bill Lee to spare Johnson’s life, but the governor declined to intervene. Supporters of clemency said Johnson had undergone a religious conversion and cited his Christian ministry to fellow inmates. Johnson was an ordained elder of the church in Nashville.

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7:45 p.m.

Tennessee has executed a man convicted of killing his wife decades ago at a camping center he managed in Memphis.

Sixty-eight-year-old inmate Don Johnson was pronounced dead at 7:37 p.m. Thursday following a lethal injection at a maximum-security prison in Nashville. He drew the death sentence for the 1984 suffocation death of his wife, Connie.

Johnson became the fourth person executed in Tennessee since August. The two inmates executed before him in Tennessee chose the electric chair, saying they believed it offered a quicker and less painful death than the state’s default method, a three-drug lethal injection.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee recently declined clemency requests for Johnson from religious leaders including the president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, of which Johnson is a member.

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3:45 p.m.

The Nashville church where a Tennessee death row inmate is an ordained elder is honoring the man’s last wish by planning a community meal for the homeless.

Inmate Don Johnson’s attorneys say that rather than request a special last meal, he asked supporters to provide a meal to a homeless person. Johnson is scheduled to be executed Thursday evening for suffocating his wife in 1984 at a camping center he managed in Memphis.

Johnson’s wish was inspired by another death row inmate whose request to have a pizza delivered to a homeless person prompted people across the country to deliver pizzas to homeless shelters.

A vigil ahead of the inmate’s scheduled execution is planned at the Riverside Chapel Seventh-day Adventist Church. The church is collecting grocery gift cards for a meal for the homeless next week.

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12:30 a.m.

A man convicted of killing his wife decades ago at a camping center he managed in Memphis is set for execution in Tennessee.

Sixty-eight-year-old inmate Don Johnson is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday evening for the 1984 suffocation death of his wife, Connie.

Johnson would be the fourth person executed in Tennessee since August, barring a last-minute stay. The last two inmates executed in Tennessee chose the electric chair, saying they believed it offered a quicker and less painful death than the state’s default method, a three-drug lethal injection.

Gov. Bill Lee declined clemency requests for Johnson from religious leaders including the president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, of which Johnson is a member.

Alabama is also scheduled to carry out a lethal injection Thursday evening .

Source: Fox News National


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