Tuesday, November 27

Has LeRoy Jernigan's Murderer Been Found? - UPDATED

Earlier in the month, I wrote an article for the Raleigh Chronicle about LeRoy Jernigan, a man who was killed while cleaning Circus Family Restaurant at 1600 Wake Forest Road in Raleigh. He had been shot once in the head, execution style.

News today says a man, Samuel Cooper, with a significant criminal history has been charged with LeRoy's murder, in addition to four others.

More updates to come, but I have a feeling justice will finally be served for those families.


Samuel James Cooper, 30, of 2300 Creech Road was arrested after a Garner bank robbery and car chase in Garner. He was then connected to and charged with five murders dating back to May 2006. Here are the warrants.

Those murders, however, are far from when his criminal record started. In 1994, he was 17 when he was sentenced to 20 years in jail for armed robbery. Five years later, while in prison at the Wake Correctional Center, he and two other inmates overpowered a guard and escaped.

While on the run, they carjacked a Buick but ran out of gas on I-40. A sheriff's deputy gave them a ride to a convenience store, not realizing they were escaped inmates. When they asked for rides to Wilmington at a Benson apartment complex, they were arrested.

And again in 1999, after he was sentenced to 26-32 months in prison for the escape, he punched a deputy in the jaw and knocked her to the ground while she was escorting him from a courtroom. He was attempting to pull her service weapon from her holster when others came to her aid.

Chasity Jernigan, LeRoy's sister, has said she is glad that he is off the streets and that LeRoy has some closure. In addition to LeRoy's murder, Cooper has been charged with the murders of the following (for a map, go here:

Tariq Hussain, 52,

Hussain was found dead shortly after 10 a.m. on October 14. He was shot to death behind the counter of his convenience store, Bobby's Grocery, and was discovered by a customer. He was a father of three and an apparent victim of a robbery.

Rickey High, 48
A homeless man, High was found lying on the sidewalk on October 12 about a block from where he lived. He had worked for stores near the St. Augustine's College.

Timothy David Barnwell, 34

Barnwell was shot and killed on April 27 outside his apartment during an apparent robbery at Windsor Falls Apartments. His ankles and wrists were bound, and he tried to escape by jumping over the balcony of his second-floor apartment, but was shot several times when he landed.

Osama "Samuel" Haj-Hussein, 43
Haj-Hussein was shot and killed on May 12, 2006. He was a clerk at the In & Out Mart on Creech Road, and a native of Jordan.

LeRoy Jernigan photo courtesy of Chasity Jernigan; photos of four victims found on Wral.com

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