A defense attorney says the father of Eldon Gale Samuel III believed zombies were real and would one day come after his family, and he instilled that fear in his sons.
Kootenai County Public Defender John Adams made the comments Wednesday during opening statements in the murder trial of the 16-year-old Samuel, who is charged with killing his father and younger brother.
Adams painted a picture of a dysfunctional and violent family led by Eldon Samuel Jr., a drug addict, The Spokesman-Review reported. Adams said that helped explain the Coeur d'Alene teenager's state of mind when he killed his father and brother the night of March 24, 2014.
Samuel shot his father in the stomach after his father had hit him and told him to remove his clothes and leave the house because zombies were coming, Adams said.
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After the father crawled into a bedroom and died, Samuel shot him three more times in the face and head to make sure he didn't come back as a zombie, Adams told the jury. It was an act of self-defense, he said, and showed how the boy was influenced by his father's delusions.
"He trained him for the zombie apocalypse," Adams told the jury.
Samuel then went after his younger brother Jonathan, Adams said.
"He just loses it, he snaps," Adams said.
Jonathan Samuel was shot five times by a shotgun and five more times by a .45-caliber handgun, before he was stabbed and hacked with a machete scores of times, according to an autopsy.
Adams acknowledged Samuel killed his father and brother, but he questioned whether the case warrants murder charges, as opposed to manslaughter.
The jury must decide if Jonathan's death was calculated and premeditated, as the first-degree murder charge suggests, or "whether this was a rage killing," Adams said.
Kootenai County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Art Verharen described for jurors the extensive wounds to Jonathan. The 13-year-old boy was alive through all 10 gunshot wounds, Verharen said, and he bled to death.
Jonathan also was stabbed and hacked more than 100 times on the head, face, arms, hands, legs and feet, he said.
Samuel killed Jonathan "because he hated his brother, he blamed him for his family not being together," Verharen said. "He told police he just didn't want his brother around."
The trial is expected to last up to four weeks.
Samuel, who is being tried as an adult, was 14 at the time of the killings.
Samuel initially was charged with first-degree murder in both deaths, but the charge was changed to second-degree murder in the father's death after the younger Samuel said his father abused him.
Police say Samuel showed no remorse and said he'd contemplated and prepared for the killings for months.