John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that LAQUASIA SAMMS, also known as “Quasia,” 26, of New Haven, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to making false statements before a federal grand jury in connection with an investigation into the kidnapping and murder of two individuals, and the related murder of a third individual, in November 2015.
According to court documents and statements made in court, on November 16, 2015, Samms was present when an illegal firearm transaction was occurring in her apartment on Shelton Avenue in New Haven. Damian Connor and Tamar Lawrence were also present in the apartment. When an individual left the apartment with firearms that he had not paid for, the individual whose firearms were taken held Connor and Lawrence against their will. Connor and Lawrence were robbed of money and valuables, and then forced to travel in Connor’s car to Hamden where Connor said he could get more money. They were followed in another vehicle by Devante Williams and another individual. After the vehicles arrived at 676 Mix Avenue in Hamden, Connor and Lawrence were shot and killed. Williams was shot and killed a short time later in the area of Sherman Court in New Haven.
During the kidnapping, and after the three victims were murdered, Samms sent several text messages to another individual about what was happening and her reaction to the events.
On March 19, 2019, Samms appeared before a grand jury in New Haven. During her testimony, Samms repeatedly claimed that she did not remember sending any text messages related to the gun transaction, the kidnapping, or the murder of the three individuals.
In pleading guilty, Samms admitted that she sent the text messages, and that she withheld other information that was sought by the federal grand jury.
Judge Dooley scheduled sentencing for December 28, 2020, at which time Samms faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.
On December 9, 2019, the grand jury returned an indictment charging Edward Michael Parks, also known as “Lee” and “Trouble,” 34, of Raleigh, North Carolina, with kidnapping and murdering the two individuals in Hamden, and killing the third victim in New Haven to stop him from advising law enforcement what had occurred. Parks is awaiting trial, and U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Hamden Police Department and New Haven Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony E. Kaplan, Peter D. Markle and Jocelyn C. Kaoutzanis, and Assistant State’s Attorney Seth Garbarsky, who has been cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in this matter.