The Justice Files: Brutal murder sends suspect to prison

Top Stories

 CASTLEDALE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) –  Brandon Samples claimed to understand the pain a victim’s family was going through.

In February, a jury convicted Samples of murdering Randy Jones by beating him repeatedly with a baseball bat. Samples appeared for sentencing last week.

 “I am sorry to Randy and his family for their loss and how hard they’re going through,” Samples said prior to being sentenced.  “I just lost someone too and I know what it’s like.”

Brandon Samples Courtesy: Emery County Sheriff’s Office

But district judge Don Torgerson scolded Samples.

“These are not equivalent losses Mr. Samples,” said Judge Torgerson. “The loss of your mother from natural causes is a different kind of loss than the loss the victims here are experience because of your behavior.

In 2019, Samples and Anna Brewer took Jones to a remote area.  According to Brewer’s testimony, Samples used an aluminum baseball bat and clubbed Jones repeatedly.

The motive remained unclear.  Witnesses claimed Samples was angry with Jones. Brewer claimed that during the beating, Jones begged for answers but she said Samples never told him him why.  Brewer also said she was forced by Samples to strike Jones with the bat.

“Everyday, I feel shameful for what happened and there’s nothing I can do to change that your honor,” Samples said during his sentencing.

Samples appeared via a video conference from the Utah State Prison.  He was covered in tattoos.  Prior to his trial his attorney filed a motion to have the tattoos removed or covered up.  But Samples declined any effort to cover up the tattoos, some depict allegiance to white supremacist philosophies. 

“I am not a white supremacist gang member,” Samples said.  “I got out of that a while ago because I realized it wasn’t who I was.”

Jones is an army veteran who returned to Utah following his discharge.  His family said Jones has trouble adjusting but never deserved this.

“Brandon, I don’t know how you sleep at night and I hope that you sleep with one eye open,” said Rayette Jones, an older sister.  “The horror that you have put on us will never go away.”

The prosecutor sought consecutive sentences.  Samples defense attorney asked for concurrent in hopes he would have an opportunity for parole in the future. Samples blamed his trouble on drugs and a rough upbringing but Judge Torgerson didn’t accept that as an excuse.

“It’s not because you’re a drug addict and it’s not because you had a disadvantaged upbringing,  it’s because at your core you did not care about human life if it interfered with what you wanted,” Judge Torgerson said.

The judge also questioned why Samples was not charged with aggravated murder.  The former defense attorney turned judge said the murder was so brutal that the death penalty was warranted. He sentenced Samples to consecutive sentences for the four charges which include murder and obstruction of justice.  It meant Samples will serve at least 16-years in prison.

Last month, Brewer appeared in court for sentencing.  Her attorney asked she be placed on probation because Brewer had little criminal history and cooperated with the prosecution including testifying against Samples.  Judge Torgerson declined the request and sentenced Brewer to a prison term of up to 15 years for her role in the murder.

MORE OF THE JUSTICE FILES:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.