MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A man originally charged with capital murder after what prosecutors called a ‘drug deal gone bad’ has pleaded guilty to murder.
23-year-old Jaylon McKinnley Draper was charged with capital murder in connection to the shooting death of Samantha Coyner, 19, on Hillwood Drive in what prosecutors called a “drug deal gone bad.”
Draper’s jury trial was set to start on Monday, but according to court records, he pleaded guilty to an amended murder charge.
Court records show that Draper will now serve a 25-year sentence.
Huntsville Police responded to the area of Hillwood Drive at Chickamauga Trail on April 10, 2019, in response to a shooting in progress. When officers arrived, they found Coyner laying in the road.
She was rushed to Huntsville Hospital in critical condition and later died from her injuries.
Joseph Earls, 18 at the time, was accused of shooting Coyner. He was arrested later that same day after investigators said a search warrant served at a home led to evidence connected to the shooting. Earls was then charged with capital murder.
Police at the time said Earls, Draper and others were in a vehicle attempting to buy drugs with counterfeit money from another vehicle with Coyner and a group of people.
Police said witnesses explained that the vehicle Coyner was in left before the alleged drug deal was completed. Witnesses say the vehicle with Earls and Draper followed Coyner’s group to the intersection of Hillwood and Chickamauga after the deal was called off.
The witnesses got out of their vehicle to confront those in the car following them, which is when police say shots were allegedly fired from the vehicle with Earls and Draper.
Officers caught up with the vehicle on Bob Wallace Avenue and took the three people inside into custody.
Both Earls and Draper have applied for youthful offender status in their cases.
Although Earls was charged with capital murder, court records documenting this cannot be found after the case was bound over to a grand jury less than a month after the incident.
The now 22-year-old did, however, plead guilty to an unrelated burglary charge in 2019 where he was sentenced to two years probation.
Draper is also ordered to pay a fine of $5,000 and a victim’s compensation of $1,000