CANTON 2017 MURDERS

Byron Elrod, Jeremy Zellous and Brody Samples 

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) — Three men have been sentenced to life in prison for their part in gang-related crimes that occurred in Canton in 2017.

Byron Elrod, 25, Brody Samples, 28, and Jeremy Zellous. 33, were convicted by a Cherokee County jury on Nov. 18.

Following a street fight on June 24, one group posted a video bragging about winning the fight. Elrod and Zellous, who held a leadership positioin within the Bloods criminal street gang, decided to retaliate.

On June 25, 2017, Elrod, Zellous and Samples ambushed William Randall and Jamesly Baptist. More than 70 shots were fired, hitting nearby homes, cars and churches. Randall, 23, and Tony Samples, 26, were killed.

On July 11, 2017, Elrod committed a drive-by shooting on Crisler in an attempt to intimate a witnes.

The 5-week trial began Oct. 18, 2021. More than 50 witnesses testified. The State presented evidence that all three men were associated with gangs.

The jury deliberated for 2 days before announcing the verdit. The three men were convicted of 59 counts total, including assault, and violation of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.

At the Jan. 10 hearing, William Randall’s sister provided a victim impact statement in which she talked about the tremendous loss she and her family have suffered. During the sentencing hearing, the State recommended the maximum sentence for murder of life without the possibility of parole for each defendant.

Judge David Cannon, Jr. sentenced Byron Elrod to life in prison plus an additional 15 years to serve in confinement pursuant to the recidivist statute of O.C.G.A. §17-10-7(a) and (c), followed by 30 years of probation. Brody Samples was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole plus an additional 5 years to serve in confinement. Jeremy Zellous was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole, plus an additional 15 years to serve in confinement.

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