Mineral Wells man accused of double murder

Suspect apprehended in Braxton County

An ambulance waits at the scene of a shooting at a mobile home on Nova Road in Mineral Wells. Two people died, one at the scene and the other during surgery at Camden Clark Medical Center, Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens said. Suspect Jeff Sampson, 46, was arrested after a pursuit by West Virginia State Police on Interstate 79 in Braxton County.

MINERAL WELLS — A Mineral Wells man was arrested in Braxton County Tuesday, hours after he allegedly shot and killed a Waverly husband and wife, authorities said.

Brandy Lynn Hardman, 40, and Shawn Michael Hardman, 43, both of 143 Monks Lane in Waverly, were fatally shot Tuesday morning at a mobile home at 249 Nova Road in Mineral Wells, Wood County Sheriff Steve Stephens said.

Charged with two counts of murder is Jeff Sampson, 46, of Oakbrook Drive in Mineral Wells, the sheriff said. The mobile home was the residence of Sampson’s ex-wife, Karen Sampson, 39, Stephens said.

Karen Sampson was uninjured and called 911, as did neighbors who heard the gunfire, Stephens said.

Karen and Jeff Sampson reportedly were in a domestic dispute, Stephens said. Karen Sampson had asked the Hardmans to come to the residence and they were there when Jeff Sampson arrived, between 8 and 9 a.m., the sheriff said.

A deputy with the Wood County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday morning stands outside the mobile home on Nova Road in Mineral Wells where two people were fatally shot. Suspect Jeff Sampson, 46, was arrested around 12:30 p.m. after a pursuit on Interstate 79 in Braxton County by West Virginia State Police. (Photo by Michael Erb0)

What happened after that is unclear, Stephens said.

“That part is still under investigation,” he said.

Jeff Sampson apparently left the residence on foot and went to his parents’ home, located nearby, where he got into his truck and drove off, Stephens said.

A bulletin was issued for Sampson and his red truck.

He was arrested about three hours later in Braxton County, after a pursuit on Interstate 79, Stephens said. Multiple police agencies had officers along the highway watching for Sampson, who reportedly crossed the median and drove the wrong way on some stretches in an effort to avoid capture.

“He went through Sutton and then went out a dead end road toward Sutton Lake,” Stephens said.

At that point, Sampson got out of the truck and ran a short distance before surrendering, the sheriff said.

West Virginia State Police Lt. Michael Baylous said no troopers were injured while apprehending Sampson.

Sampson appeared before a magistrate in Braxton County who remanded him to the Central Regional Jail pending arraignment before a circuit judge in Wood County, Stephens said.

Brandy Hardman was pronounced dead at the scene, the sheriff said, while Shawn Hardman later died at Camden Clark Medical Center.

Mineral Wells Elementary and Parkersburg South High schools were placed on lockdown at the request of law enforcement, said Mike Fling, assistant superintendent for Wood County Schools. The elementary school was locked down due to its proximity to the scene, while South was added because a person or persons connected to the school were also tied to people involved in the shooting, Fling said, declining to elaborate for confidentiality reasons.

It turned out that “neither one of the schools were ever under any type of danger,” Fling said. The lockdowns were lifted around 1 p.m., after it was learned the suspect had been apprehended.

As authorities searched for Sampson, Glenville State College and Calhoun County Schools were also placed in precautionary lockdowns.

“Our public safety (department) had learned from local law enforcement that the suspect might be in the area or headed to the area,” said Dustin Crutchfield, with Glenville State’s public relations office.

Calhoun County Schools Superintendent Tim Woodward said he was informed by their 911 office that the suspect was possibly around the Arnoldsburg area, where an elementary school is located. Not knowing where the chase was going, officials decided to put all schools on lockdown, he said.

Neighbors in the trailer court off Nova Road were shocked by the events that unfolded Tuesday morning.

Josh Blair said he didn’t know the Sampsons well, but Jeff Sampson had helped him a couple of years ago by sharing security camera footage when a vehicle was stolen from Blair’s property.

“You never expect anything like that to happen,” Blair said.

Garrett Furr said he moved into a trailer next door to Karen Sampson’s about three weeks ago.

“(I) haven’t heard a peep out of the neighbors or anything,” he said.

After learning what happened, Furr said he was feeling “a lot of disbelief really.”

(Staff writers Brett Dunlap and Michael Erb contributed.)