GEORGIA -Three teenagers have been charged with the murder of a 14-year-old who was allegedly killed over expensive sneakers.
The youngsters, aged between 15 and 19, were charged with the brutal murder of Paul Sampleton, who was discovered bound and gagged by his father in their family home on Dec. 19. He had been shot multiple times.
Investigating officers say they are certain the motive was Sampleton’s collection of high-end sneakers, in what is known among teenagers as the “shoe game.” As a hobby he collected and traded the footwear and was well known for having an impressive collection.
“They were aware that he had nice things,” said Cpl. Jake Smith with the Gwinnett County Police Department in a report on WSBTV.com. “They were aware that he traded in these high-end sneakers.”
According to a search warrant obtained by Channel 2, on the day of the murder, several pairs of high end sneakers were stolen, including the pair Sampleton was wearing.
Police served multiple search warrants at a property not far from where Sampleton lived with his mother. They said eyewitnesses spotted a silver BMW in the neighborhood on the day of the shooting. It was registered to a person at the address.
“Essentially we had a witness in the neighborhood where the homicide happened who saw the vehicle,” Smith said.
Stephanie Stone, Sampleton’s mother, told Channel 2 that the arrests will help her begin to heal.
“I just felt a sense of relief, a sense of euphoria. It was just like a smile had been planted on my face,” said Stone. “I am so glad that we’re on the road for closure.”
Stone said her son’s death was a senseless crime. “It is sad that you got three young black men that are going to spend the rest of their lives behind bars, or whatever may come for them, over material things,” Stone said.
As for the parents of the men that were arrested, Stone said she has no sympathy for them.
“I’m not going to say that I f eel bad for those parents. I’m not, because I feel bad for me. These parents are the ones raising these types of children. They’re raising them,” Stone said.
The investigation continues into other suspects.
Follow Kunbi Tinuoye on Twitter at @Kunbiti