Murder Suspect at Large

LaTroy Dante Sampson

WINNSBORO – The body of a Winnsboro woman was discovered outside her home on S. Garden Street early Friday morning and investigators with the Department of Public Safety are looking for the man they believe was responsible for strangling her to death.

Officers responded to a disturbance call at 417 S. Garden St. at 3:50 a.m. on July 4 where they found 34-year-old Jennifer Monique Stone lying outside on the south side of the house. An EMS crew arrived a short time later, according to Freddie Lorick, Chief of Public Safety, but was unable to revive Stone. She was pronounced dead at the scene, Lorick said.

The search is now on for 36-year-old LaTroy Dante Sampson, whom Lorick said was an acquaintance of the victim. While Sampson’s last known address is 2741 Syrup Mill Road, Lorick said Sampson had been living at 417 S. Garden St. at least part-time.

Lorick said Stone’s son, 18-year-old Matthew Stone, was awakened in the early morning hours of July 4 by the sounds of an altercation taking place outside the home. Matthew came out of the house and was met by Sampson coming from around the side of the home. Sampson reportedly grabbed Matthew by the hair and tried to physically pull him back around to the side of the house, but Matthew slipped away and Sampson fled on foot. A short time later, Matthew ventured around to the south side of the house and discovered the body of his mother.

Lorick said Sampson had just recently been released from prison. Records from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) state that Sampson was incarcerated in 1998 for an armed robbery conviction, as well as for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. Since his release, Sampson has twice run afoul of the law. Last March he was arrested for public disorderly conduct. A month later, he was charged with trespassing and failure to comply with the direction of a police officer.

Sampson’s list of prior charges in S.C. dates back to 1996 when he was arrested in March of that year by the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office and charged with second degree lynching. The following September, Sampson was again picked up by the Sheriff’s Office and charged with strong-armed robbery and armed robbery with a deadly weapon. None of those charges merited a conviction, however.

In November of 1996, Sampson was once again arrested by Sheriff’s deputies, this time charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. He was sentenced to six years, but the sentence was suspended upon five years of probation. One month later, Sampson found himself in the Kirkland penitentiary following a conviction for assaulting a police officer.

As of press time, Sampson was still on the run and Winnsboro investigators were being assisted by SLED’s Fugitive Task Force, which was pursuing leads all over the state. Anyone with knowledge of Sampson’s whereabouts should call the Department of Public Safety at 803-635-4511. Lorick said Sampson should be considered extremely dangerous.