Face of a killer? - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Face of a killer?

Boy, 14, charged with slaying dad, brother

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Posted: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Detectives say the teen charged with killing his father and brother in Coeur d'Alene told them he had "mentally prepared himself" for the alleged double homicide for eight months.

Eldon Samuel III, 14, was charged as an adult Tuesday in Kootenai County court. He faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his father, Eldon G. Samuel, Jr., 46, and his younger brother, Jonathan Samuel, 13. Bail was set at $1 million.

Police records show the boy called in the report himself at 9:09 p.m. Monday and told the police dispatcher that he had shot and killed his brother and father.

Samuel was apprehended without incident at the home, 1311 N. First St., and taken to the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, where he was interviewed by a detective.

The report states that Samuel said his father, who "often beats him," had been taking medication on Monday evening while "talking about zombies." Samuel's father allegedly fired a shot outside the home before going back into the house. Samuel told investigators that the two then began fighting inside the house, and after his father pushed him twice, he fired at the man's stomach with a .45 caliber handgun.

Samuel told the investigator that he shot his father three more times, twice in the cheek and once in the "brain." Still, he said, his father wasn't dead.

According to the report, the father then attempted to crawl to Jonathan's room. The 13-year-old boy, who Samuel allegedly said "he hated," was hiding under a bed and refused to come out when Samuel ordered him out of the room. Samuel told investigators he then used a shotgun to shoot his hiding brother four times.

Samuel said he then set the weapon aside, picked up a "large knife" and stabbed Jonathan "numerous times." Samuel told the detective that Jonathan still appeared to be alive after the stabbing, which prompted him to use a machete to strike Jonathan approximately 30 times.

The report said that Samuel briefly spoke to the detective about the popular video game "Grand Theft Auto V," stating that out of the three character choices the game gives players, he always chooses "Trevor" - a character who "has anger issues and often shoots other characters in the game."

"Eldon thinks Trevor is 'kinda cool,'" the report states.

During the interview, the detective said Samuel did not show any remorse for the murders.

Samuel made his first court appearance Tuesday via closed-circuit television from the Kootenai County Public Safety Building.

When Judge Robert Burton was done reading the boy his rights, Burton asked Samuel if he understood. The pale youth, handcuffed and dressed in a baggy, dark blue prison jumpsuit, silently nodded.

Burton said that Samuel would need to speak when answering questions, which prompted him to whisper "yes" at a barely audible level.

Both first-degree murder charges were then read to Samuel, with Burton stating that both of the alleged murders were premeditated.

Samuel whispered "yes" after each of the charges were read, and told Burton that he would wait to speak with his public defender before entering a plea.

Sgt. Christie Wood said in a press release that the Samuel family had recently relocated to Coeur d'Alene from California. The home on First Street where they were staying is owned by St. Vincent de Paul of North Idaho and used as an emergency shelter.

Jeff Conroy, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul North Idaho, told The Press Tuesday that the family moved into the house approximately three months ago and were in the process of moving out.

"This incident is the first of its kind in our 68-year history," Conroy said in a press release. "We are surprised to learn of the weapons that were used in this crime, as they are prohibited in all our programs."

Laura Rumpler, director of communication for the Coeur d'Alene School District, said that both Samuel and his brother, Jonathan, were enrolled in district schools. Samuel attended Lakes Magnet Middle School and Jonathan attended Canfield Middle School.

The school district has mobilized its crisis assistance team, and both schools will have counselors and administrators available to meet with students and staff throughout the week.

Judge Burton said a preliminary hearing will be held sometime in the next two weeks.

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  • isla-avery posted at 1:03 am on Wed, Apr 2, 2014.

    isla-avery Posts: 10

    I agree wholeheartedly. Mental health needs to be taken seriously; it is the cause, guns are merely the tool. Until we have solid mental health education, access, and support, we won't reduce the frequency of these sorts of tragedies. In order to identify potential problems, people need to be informed, and those who are suffering (be it the patient or their families) need to be able to access the care they need, especially in regard to the stigma associated with it, and the cost for treatment.

  • isla-avery posted at 12:58 am on Wed, Apr 2, 2014.

    isla-avery Posts: 10

    How terrible. The boy likely has a serious behavioral/mental health issue(s), regardless of where he was from or what games he played. I don't see how referencing that he played one of the biggest video games of the year was relevant to the horrible act he committed. I found it tragic that he likely related to a violent fictional character because it represented how he identified himself, but it's worth noting that most who play violent games do not experience murderous impulses, especially not toward their own families.

    The only way to fight future occurrences like this one is to address the mental/behavioral health problems prevalent in our society that cause them, offering increased access, education, and support while combating the stigma associated with mental healthcare. He shouldn't have fallen through the cracks, his family shouldn't have paid for it with their lives, and it's unfortunate his condition was not recognized earlier. Guessing on the families circumstances, even if the problem was known, I wonder if help would have been available to them? If those in the surrounding area failed to notice a *series of gunshots*, how could we have expected anyone to notice the abuse, or demonstrated behavioral issues?

  • darcigirl posted at 11:05 am on Sun, Mar 30, 2014.

    darcigirl Posts: 695

    As a nation we have to deal with Mental Health...not gun control. Some folks for the safety of all need to be institutionalized. This is one where the ACLU got it wrong. We need to talk about this.

  • Ex Cop posted at 9:48 am on Thu, Mar 27, 2014.

    Ex Cop Posts: 1

    Tinkerfool, you're welcome. As a former homeless person myself, be glad you've never been in that position yourself. There, except for the grace of God go YOU! Homelessness cuts across the boundaries of every demographic, including mine and yours. No, I'm not an alcoholic, and no, I'm not a drug user. I came into the realm of homelessness thanks to the creator of Obamavilles across this nation. My heart goes out to the family of this kid. I thank GOD there are organizations like St. Vincent de Paul and particularly Spokane's Union Gospel Mission. If not for the work of Randy Altmeyer and several generations of his family in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, there would be even more tragic stories like this one.

  • CDAforALL posted at 1:56 am on Thu, Mar 27, 2014.

    CDAforALL Posts: 249

    In other words, STFU ingrates. Have some respect. Sheesh. Can we get some humanity around here please?

  • CDAforALL posted at 1:41 am on Thu, Mar 27, 2014.

    CDAforALL Posts: 249

    How about a moment of silence for this family. What a tragedy.

  • Tinkerbell posted at 12:20 am on Thu, Mar 27, 2014.

    Tinkerbell Posts: 111

    Those of you whining about my initial post are hypocrites. If you, your children or your grandchildren lived in a neighborhood in which an organization housed violent people and something terrible happened to you or your family members as a result of that situation, you’d be the first to complain.

  • garfield posted at 10:04 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    garfield Posts: 36

    Please step back and remember...this child was special needs. I cannot help but wonder what he was thinking, hiding under the bed, and "why is my brother wanting to hurt me?" I cannot imagine the struggle this family was dealing with. It is so horribly sad....no more comments about shelters please. St. V. helps so many! These callous comments are also a symptom of the same sort of sickness running rampant in our society. We need to help others. We need to feel free to report suspicious behavior. If you just want to complain that someone is not parenting the way you would...dont go there! If your gut tells you something is wrong...it just might be! Pay attention to your surroundings without judgement. You might just be able to save a child!

  • Rogue Cop posted at 9:08 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Rogue Cop Posts: 2371

    Freethinker beat me to the punch with point #3. Well said, sir.

    What the he ll is Coeur d'Alene PD doing releasing the details of this MINOR's statements to the press? Don't tell me this minor made an intelligent waiver of his rights to the detective. Is there no one supervising the investigation of a double homicide and coordinating press releases. My GAWD, this is Criminal Investigation 101.

    One can understand the media wanting to report the gruesome details because that sells newspapers, but a little editorial discretion would have been in order.

    The minor is entitled to a fair measure of justice, but any hopes of a fair trial has now been eliminated because the jury pool has been tainted. Great teamwork Police Department and Cd'A Press. It would have been nice to have some adults in charge.

  • Keven Johnson posted at 9:03 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Keven Johnson Posts: 1490

    A couple others have touched on this, but rather than blame guns, or knives, or machetes, or St. Vincent DePaul, I have to wonder what, if any, prescription "medications" this 14 year old boy may have been taking.

  • merlgerl posted at 8:28 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    merlgerl Posts: 249

    That isn't the only odd thing. Neighbor heard Dads front yard shot and another an hour later so she missed 7 including 4 from a shotgun. She also said she heard no argument and boy states after dads fired shot they went in the house and argued to the point the father got physical and the boy shot him in the abdomen and then 3 times in the face and head. Then 4 shotgun blasts to his little brother that no one heard. Somethings not quite right about this story.

  • downtowncda posted at 7:54 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    downtowncda Posts: 709

    Just another thing I just noticed. Take a look at photo 1. Notice the crime stoppers sign. If you hear a gunshot in your neighborhood, call the police. A neighbor indicated that they heard a gunshot earlier..... the accused stated that his father fired a gun in the front yard earlier and no one reported hearing a gunshot??? These houses are old and very close to each other. If it is not reasonable to expect a resident to call when something seems wrong, then maybe they need to get a rent a cop to provide security for the immediate area.

  • downtowncda posted at 7:10 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    downtowncda Posts: 709

    We know from a few years ago that CDA is not immune to horrific violent murderers. It's always shocking when someone this young goes ballistic.

    I support St Vinnie's but I think they need to take steps to assure the city residents that there is more than just a policy violation for weapons in their homeless shelters. Random weekly weapons searches may be in order as well as mandatory background checks.

    It would be hard to believe that there was no history of violence and instability in this family that a background check could have exposed. If St Vinnies can't handle the increased security checks, the city might need to impose some mandatory regulations for shelters and treatment centers.

  • Tinkerbell posted at 5:21 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Tinkerbell Posts: 111

    I'm a "fool," a "#tch," "dumbashell," and "morally bankrupt" for wanting to live in a safe community? Really? Your hostile comments and aggressive attitude make one wonder what's lurking in your background, which may hold the answer as to why you're okay with violent people residing in our community.

  • CaiusCosades posted at 4:59 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    CaiusCosades Posts: 380

    Parents: keep your guns locked up!!!

  • Why Not posted at 4:54 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Why Not Posts: 5326

    And Real Life and and and.....

  • Mr Reality posted at 3:50 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Mr Reality Posts: 14

    I believe the CDA press did an outstanding job on reporting this unfortunate event. I would also like to see more articles concerning ST. Vincent's and port of hope residents in the transitional housing which are Located in our community neighborhoods.

  • Why Not posted at 12:10 pm on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Why Not Posts: 5326

    Absolutely spot on MT

  • jmowreader posted at 11:29 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    jmowreader Posts: 1493

    The "sex life of fruit flies" studies led to the creation of a class of insecticides called Insect Growth Regulators, which keep bugs from breeding.

  • Freethinker posted at 11:27 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Freethinker Posts: 530

    Just a few points that I believe need to be stated.
    1) any hate against St. Vincent is not only misplaced anger its morally bankrupt, folks should be ashamed to even go there. We should be grateful that there are those amongst us who do not judge, who are there to help and have the means to uplift the downtrodden.
    2) these attacks against St. Vincent and their mission, also frame those in need as unworthy of help, effectively dehumanizing the poor, and assigning blame on those who may very well be victims of situations not of their own making.
    3) the graphic details of the article once made public almost nullify any chance this juvenile may have for a fair trail. The CDA Press, and the CDA Police who shared this information with the press should be reprimanded for these leaks that very well may have compromised the rights of the accused.

  • Oh MY posted at 10:45 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Oh MY Posts: 572

    Well said.

  • Miketeague posted at 10:10 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Miketeague Posts: 2626

    Being an avid atheist, it is strange to feel the need to defend St. Vincent de Paul from people like tinkerfool. We don’t know the circumstance that put these people in need emergency housing, all we know is that a church group actually tries to help the poor and abused instead of just talking about it. I would seriously doubt that any family says lets drive 1000 miles to Coeur d’Alene because they have homeless shelters and we might get one. I don’t have any facts to back this up, but my guess is the vast majority of the families in this area are just one missed paycheck from disaster and could end up in need of help like the type St. Vincent tries to offer.
    We might never know what caused a 14 year old to do such a brutal thing, the only facts we have is that two people are dead and a 14 year old is in custody, so maybe just maybe we should hold off blame until we do have facts.
    There is something that I do believe even if I disagree with recent guns laws is that this is not a second amendment issue, it is an indictment on our mental health policies.

  • milburnschmidt posted at 8:04 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1160

    Its starting to appear in many of these tragic shootings that kids and parents on medication might be a bigger problem than the gun issue. I feel sorry for the church who is trying to do good work but cannot micro manage every one who stays there. There needs to be a natl commission on violence to thoroughly investigate these incidents where kids go beserk instead of studies on the sex life of fruit flies and owls mating habits. AS we over medicate everyone who goes to the Dr now we want to legalize drugs to increase the problem.

  • kangarooish posted at 8:03 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    kangarooish Posts: 6

    Agreed. I regret reading this story.

  • teacher24 posted at 8:01 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    teacher24 Posts: 12

    Shame on the Press for printing this sensationalist garbage. Report the news, but we don't need a blow by blow account.

  • peanutbutter posted at 7:37 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    peanutbutter Posts: 130

    Such a sad event spawned by family turmoil and who knows what else. Not our place to speculate, only the suspect knows. Not our place to blame or preach of gun control. If someone wants to kill as this boy did, gun or not they will find a way. In this case maybe we should preach knife control too. St Vinnie's does remarkable things in this community, without judgement, so to make an unflattering comment about them is ignorance.

  • Old Gyrene posted at 7:31 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Old Gyrene Posts: 97

    Amazing how many morons there are out there who spew forth with opinions based on what they read is some rag of a newspaper or what they are told from some script reading tv reporter. Facts, man. You need facts! Otherwise you are just another tv watching, rag reading moron.

  • sunny hiller posted at 7:20 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    sunny hiller Posts: 50

    #flash you are making an assumption supporters of the 2nd amendment and who they believe should have guns.. i believe you have a right to have a gun. if you are a convicted felon or those under 18 should not be in possession a gun.. gun laws target and punish LAW ABIDING citizens not people that should not have a gun..the ones who could care less if the law doesnt allow them to have a gun, if they want a gun they will get a gun. never heard of a criminal who got a gun legally..are you in favor of laws limiting who can have a knife or baseball bat how about a belt, ice picks maybe... which have been used to murder

  • ancientemplar posted at 7:15 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1287

    A couple of questions come to mind: Where's mama and what brought them to Coeur d'Alene?

  • Flash Gordon posted at 6:59 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1678

    St. Vincent de Paul does a very good job of taking care of people that are in need, have been abandoned by society, and are facing difficult life circumstances because nobody cares about them nor wants them in their neighborhood or community.

    "These" families and individuals have no resources to take care of themselves. St Vinny's offers a helping hand. Our city, county, and state offer little assistance for those in dire need. That's by choice. Thank You St. Vincent de Paul for caring and offering help.

    It's also ironic to read such criticism of this gun owning family from bloggers in here that want guns in the hands of everyone with no exceptions to their perceived notion of 2nd amendment rights.....

  • denofrage posted at 6:41 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    denofrage Posts: 155

    Don't punish St Vincent for this tragedy Tink... This family could have ended up sleeping on your street or in your neighborhood park. Its a sad circumstance that has occurred. This boy is obviously delusional. I feel it's a sad snap shot of what our society has come too.

  • sunny hiller posted at 6:38 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    sunny hiller Posts: 50

    did we really need to have the graphic details of the murders? what purpose does it serve ...

  • SPUDIO posted at 5:48 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    SPUDIO Posts: 101

    As opposed to you tinker#tch who works tirelessly for the poor why don't you tell us what St Vinnies should do with these people! You obviously know the story and what should have been done ? Tell us tinkerdumbashell what should have they done?

  • Flash Gordon posted at 5:36 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1678

    What a very sad family tragedy............

  • Tinkerbell posted at 1:29 am on Wed, Mar 26, 2014.

    Tinkerbell Posts: 111

    Thank you, St. Vincent de Paul, for making it possible for this lovely family to live in our community.

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