L Motel Murder

The L Motel, located at 121 S. Milton Road, was the scene of a recent death that police say was a homicide.

Jake Bacon, Arizona Daily Sun

The four teens accused of killing a man during a party at a local motel have been released from jail and are currently under the watch of pretrial services.

Lawrence Sampson-Kahn, 18, Kayson Russell, 19, Jayda Fortune, 17, and Mirelle Gorman, 16, were released from jail without bail on Nov. 20, according to court documents signed by Coconino County Superior Court Division 3 Judge Mark Moran.

The teens are charged with second-degree homicide after a fight during a party in Room 119 at the L Motel on South Milton Road led to the death of Jaron James, 23.

All four suspects have pleaded not-guilty.

Flagstaff Police claim that that the teens beat an extremely intoxicated James to death after he inappropriately touched Fortune and Gorman.

James’ death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head and face, according to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

Judge Moran stated that the teens’ bond of $250,000 was excessive and that none of the accused were a flight risk due to the fact that they have lived in Flagstaff their entire lives and only Sampson-Kahn had any prior convictions.

Sampson-Kahn was convicted of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court documents.

The release conditions require the teens to do random drug test, follow a 6 p.m. curfew, maintain a job or be enrolled in school and have no direct or indirect contact with the victim’s family.

James’ family opposed the release conditions, according to court documents.

According to the police report, Fortune and Gorman were the first to attack James after he repeatedly tried to touch them.

Fortune and Gorman were the first to attack James, with the two men joining shortly after.

The four teens then repeatedly hit James in the face, according to police.

James was very intoxicated during the incident and reportedly tried to “block his face lazily” while slipping in and out of consciousness, according to Russell’s interview with Flagstaff Police detectives.

When found by police, James’ face was swollen, with a busted lip and broken nose, according to the police report.

The Coconino County Attorney’s Office stated in court documents that they have strong evidence against Fortune and Sampson-Kahn.

“The court finds that the evidence is clear that the defendant punched the victim in the face with a glancing blow to the victims shoulder. Defendants blow to the victims face resulted in a broken nose for the victim,” according to the release conditions report referring to Sampson-Kahn.

Court documents referring to Fortune stated that the court found “that the evidence is clear, the defendant struck the victim multiple times in the face causing injury.”

The court has yet to determine the weight of the evidence against Gorman and Russell, who have admitted to being in the motel room the night of the incident but it is unclear if or how they struck James.

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Max Lancaster is the crime and courts reporter for the Arizona Daily Sun. He enjoys all things music and just learned how Kombucha is made.

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