WPB couple murdered: Second suspect arrested - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

WPB couple murdered: Second suspect arrested

By Lindsay Cohen email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A confession and a murder weapon leads to a second arrest in the double homicide of a local couple.

Update, TUE 12 PM: The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force picked up 18-year-old Michael "Mike Jeezy" Simmons late Monday. Simmons confessed to going to the home of Linda and Aaron Sampson to rob the couple along with 16-year-old Bryant Vaughn, police said.

"Simmons admitted that a handgun which had been recovered from his residence during [a] search warrant on [Monday] was the gun used to commit the murders," West Palm Beach Police said in an e-mail. "Simmons claimed to be acting as the "look out" at the time of the robbery / murder."

The Sampsons were shot in their home off Australian Court in West Palm Beach Thursday night. Linda Sampson, a pastry chef, was found dead; Aaron Sampson was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center, where he later died. The couple were active members of St. John's Missionary Baptist Church in West Palm.

Police used fingerprint evidence from the home to catch Vaughn, who they arrested on Saturday. Investigators say he confessed to the crime and then implicated Simmons as his accomplice.

Authorities say Vaughn targeted the Sampsons because he knew they kept a large amount of cash in the house and drove expensive cars. His family says the 16 year old was a special needs student who had done odd jobs for the Sampsons, like raking their leaves.

Vaughn told police that Simmons got into a fight with Aaron Sampson during the robbery and then shot him. On Monday, police found the handgun believed to be used in the murders at Simmons' home.

Simmons was booked into the county jail overnight. He is charged with two counts of 1st degree murder, attempted armed robbery, and burglary.

Previously: A 16-year-old boy was arrested Saturday in the case of a man and his wife found shot to death in their Australian Court home.

Bryant Vaughn, 16, of suburban West Palm Beach was involved in the double killing Thursday, which followed a robbery attempt he planned and carried out with at least one other person, police said in a statement circulated Sunday morning.

After neighbors called 911 to report a home invasion robbery at 3700 Australian Court, Linda Joyce Sampson, 61, who owned a pastry and gourmet basket business, was found dead in her home.

Her husband, Aaron Leroy Sampson, 61, owner of a moving company, was found outside a house next door, bleeding from a gunshot wound.

He was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center where he died.

"During this investigation, forensic evidence led to the identification of a potential suspect," the police statement said. "During an interview, Vaughn implicated himself in a planned robbery of the Sampsons."

In addition to two first-degree murder charges, Vaughn faces charges of burglary and attempted robbery as well as unrelated violation-of-probation charges.

Saturday marked at least the fourth time Vaughn was arrested since 2005, when, at the age of 13, he was taken into custody on burglary and larceny charges.

In his other arrests, he faced charges of trespassing, burglary and grand theft auto.

On Saturday he was booked in to the county Juvenile Assessment Center about 8:40 p.m., records show.

City police were continuing this morning to hunt for Vaughn's accomplice or accomplices.

The Sampsons were active at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, where Aaron Sampson sat on the board of directors and played saxophone in the choir, said Frank Sampson, Aaron's older brother..

Reacting to news of an arrest Saturday night, Frank Sampson called it a "relief."

"I hope they arrested the right person," Sampson said. "It makes us feel a lot better. But it does nothing to restore the damage done."

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