'She never met a stranger:' Sister mourns teen killed in suspected Huntsville drug deal

Joseph Earls, 18, is charged with capital murder. He's in the Madison County Jail without bond.

Posted: Apr 16, 2019 6:06 PM
Updated: Apr 17, 2019 9:26 AM

The sister of a woman shot and killed last week in south Huntsville talked with WAAY 31. Police said Sam Coyner, 19, got tangled up in a deadly drug deal.

Joseph Earls, 18, is charged with capital murder. He's in the Madison County Jail without bond.

Lexus Coyner, Sam's sister, said she's left saddened knowing her little sister won't ever grow up or know her nephew.

"It's just sad that his poor choices end his life, and my sister's life," she said.

Coyner said she last saw her sister five days before she was murdered. Now, she wants her son to grow up learning about the young woman Sam was becoming.

"She never met a stranger, and whenever she would meet people, she knew everything about them in like 5 minutes," her sister said.

Coyner said her sister's friend called her less than 20 minutes after she was shot in the middle of Hillwood Drive, at Chicamauga Trail. At first, she didn't believe what she was hearing.

"I asked her if she was okay? She didn't think she was. I asked her where she had been shot at, and she said her head," she explained.

Huntsville police said the shooting happened after an attempted drug deal. Witnesses told police, Sam and her friends drove off. Earls followed them.

"I think he wanted to rob her. I don't know if he ever intended on actually hurting her, but regardless, if you carry a gun and point a gun at somebody, be prepared for what happens," she said.

Police say Earls fired multiple shots at the car Sam was driving. Her boyfriend pulled her out of the car and was holding her when police arrived.

"He said the last thing she said before she went unconscious is that she told him that she loved him," she said.

Now, she wants the deadly shooting to serve as a wake-up call to others.

"I hope that other people learn from this that simple drug deals could end their life in the same way," she said.

Coyner just wishes she could see her sister one last time.

"I guess I would just say that I love you, and thank you for showing me how to be nice to other people and to not judge other people; that I'll try to be more like you in that way," she said.

Earls preliminary hearing date has not yet been announced. If convicted of capital murder, the 18-year-old faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

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