BELTON — A judge sentenced an 18-year-old Killeen man to 30 years in prison Friday for the Jan. 2 shooting death of a Fort Hood soldier in a marijuana deal gone bad.
Terry Grant Scott pleaded guilty to charges of murder and attempted capital murder Friday in the 264th District Court in Belton. Scott took the stand and admitted to killing 25-year-old Spc. Austin James Sampson during a midday drug exchange in a convenience store parking lot.
Scott will be eligible for parole in 15 years.
The shooting occurred in front of a convenience store on Old Farm-to-Market 440. Scott said he went there to purchase about $1,100 worth of marijuana from a friend of Sampson’s.
He admitted shooting Sampson while he was inside the car, telling the court he believed Sampson and two other men were about to rob him.
“It weighs on my conscience,” Scott said. “It is hard to deal with. ... I try to smile to cover up the pain on the inside, but it is hard.”
Scott testified that he began selling drugs and carrying a gun at age 15. He told the court he brought a .22-calliber pistol with him whenever he left home, and that he had made $25,000 to $30,000 selling marijuana.
But Scott also was preparing to enlist in the U.S. Navy and worked to graduate from Ellison High School at age 16.
“You had a bright future,” Judge Martha Trudo told him in court Friday. “You take drugs and you take guns and there cannot be a good ending for that.”
After hearing his sentence, Scott sobbed and sank into a chair. Friends and family cried and tried to leave the courtroom before Trudo ordered them to stay.
Scott’s attorneys argued that some of the blame for Sampson’s death fell on the other two men in the car and Sampson himself. They noted that a knife had been found in the backpack where the marijuana was stowed.
Prosecutor Terry Clarke said that Sampson’s death was a symptom of a larger drug trade. Even with dealing in relatively small amounts, Sampson ran the risk of being killed by being involved. And Scott ran the risk of killing someone and facing decades in prison. “He was expecting trouble and was prepared to kill, and he did that day, your honor,” Clarke said.
Contact Philip Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcrime.