Corrections Officer Murdered

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

The Michigan Department of Corrections called Steven Sampier one of their most promising officers, handpicked and recently promoted at a state-run bootcamp in Chelsea. A seven year career with MDOC, after more than two years in the Army, had him now as a sergeant.

That career, and that life, has now come to a tragic end.

"He was a great kid," says his father, Steven Sampier, Sr. "Everyone liked him. You never want to bury your child. This is the lowest part of my life right now."

The 30-year-old's lifeless body was found inside his burning house on N. Brown Street in Blackman Township Tuesday morning. But police soon realized it wasn't the fire that had killed him.

"The victim had died as a result of homicide," says Jon Johnston, deputy director of Blackman Township Public Safety Department. "Apparently the fire was set to conceal evidence indicating the crime had been committed."

Johnston says this is Blackman Township's first homicide of the year.

Neighbors can't believe what they're seeing.

"It's devastating. He was such a nice young man. It's too close to home," says neighbor Sheila Taylor.

As quiet as neighbors say Sampier was, police say he had been the victim of some crimes in recent weeks. It those crimes neighbors are now calling suspicious now that Sampier has been murdered.

"Maybe six weeks ago his home was broken into and a few things were stolen, then Halloween or the night before Halloween the windows were broken out of his car," Taylor says. Police confirm the home break-in. "Now this takes place, it kinda makes us wonder if someone was out to get him and for what, he was so nice."

It's making investigators wonder, too, especially because of Sampier's job as a corrections officer.

"His particular job puts him in contact with people who are always angry at the system," Johnston says.

"I keep thinking this is all a dream, that he's going to call me and say 'Hey, Dad! What the heck happened? I'm okay, I've been Up North!' but I know that's not going to happen."

Sampier says he and his son were gearing up to go to Tennessee Sunday for a father-son hunting trip.

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  • by Dave Location: Exeter,CA on Dec 4, 2008 at 10:00 PM
    I served with Steve in the 82nd Airborne Division. I was deployed with him in 1999 and have a bunch of pictures in storage of us in Albania. I got a couple calls today with this news, and would like to say my heart goes out to the family. If anyone reading has contact info for his father, please let me know. I would like to send him some of our pictures, and do anything I can to help through these hard times. Thanks. David Giltner
  • by Lynne Location: Beaverton on Dec 4, 2008 at 11:38 AM
    So so Sorry about what happened to Steve. He will be missed.
  • by Scott Location: Detroit on Dec 1, 2008 at 07:42 PM
    Steve was a friend---along with Elizabeth, I too hope they catch the SOB who did this. It still has not sunk in that Steve is gone----he will be in our hearts forever. For the one who did this--what comes around goes around--you will get yours.
  • by Elizabeth Location: Bay City on Nov 30, 2008 at 02:50 PM
    I hope they catch whoever committed this horrible act. All of us that spent our high school years with Steve are deeply saddened by this.
  • by Danielle Location: Jackson on Nov 29, 2008 at 05:46 AM
    It's scary to even imagine that I live where someone would do this to another person. I knew Steve, and just spoke with him a few weeks ago. It's terrible. I am still in shock...My thoughts and prayers are with the family & friends.
  • by Tim Location: Munising on Nov 28, 2008 at 12:29 PM
    My thoughts and prayers go out the the family, friends and co-workers Of Sgt. Sampier. Sgt. Sampier's choice of career speaks miles of this young man's dedication to public safety. It takes a special person to work the S.A.I., a person who truly cares to bring about positive change in the young criminals under his charge. In his seven years with the Department of Corrections, I am sure Sgt. Sampier has been the cornerstone of positive change in many of those young men that have crossed his path. He will most definately be missed, and never forgotten.
  • by kayla Location: mason on Nov 27, 2008 at 10:46 PM
    i think is story is really upsetting and i really think people need to find a hobbie instead of murdering a person for doin his job!!
  • by BERRY Location: Jackson on Nov 27, 2008 at 07:40 AM
    I had the honor to work with Steve this past year. He was a wonderful person and cared so much about others and he will be sadly missed.
  • by Dee on Nov 26, 2008 at 07:39 PM
    This is such a sad sad story.. It is so pathetic that someone has such HATE inside them that they have No regard for HUMAN LIFE! I hope that the person or persons responsible for this will be apprehended as soon as possible.. IF they were not such cowards, they would have the guts to turn themselves in..HOW can anyone live with themselves knowing they have committed such a horrible crime? GUTLESS cowards who have no rights to walk amongst law biding citizens.. My prayers go out to the Sampier's family..I hope you find the strength to get through your tragic loss.
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