Real Name: Samuel "Sammy" Edward Wheeler
Location: Augusta County, Virginia
Date: June 7, 1992
Details: On June 7, 1992, thirty-six-year-old Sammy Wheeler was found brutally murdered in his car, shot six times, and apparently robbed while parked at the George Washington National Forest in Virginia. The killer had gone to great lengths to clean the crime scene; all shell casings and fingerprints were removed, and the killer had tried unsuccessfully to ignite the vehicle. Investigators believe that he was killed at around 1 am. They learned that he had gone to the forest and planned to go fishing on the day he was killed. After discovering that Sammy's wallet was missing, the FBI assumed that his murder was a random act of violence. However, three suspects soon emerged that suggested that he may have known his killer.
Suspects: Sammy's girlfriend, Pat Snead, her ex-husband, Bob Bean, and Sammy's twin brother, Danny, have all been considered suspects, each of them placing the blame on the other.
The story began in the fall of 1991, when Pat moved into a rental unit owned by Danny. The property was divided into two apartments; Pat lived in one with Sammy and her two sons, while Danny lived in the other. The arrangement worked well for everyone except for Bob. He asked Pat to live separately from Sammy, but she did not want to.
In February 1992, a court order required that Sammy would not allowed to be around Pat if she was with her sons. In order for this situation to work, he moved into Danny's apartment. Bob was still suspicious, so he hired a private investigator to ensure that the court order was obeyed. The private investigator claimed that Sammy violated it, but Danny said that this was not true. Sammy decided that he would sleep in his truck in order to show that he was not doing so.
Bob claims that he and Sammy were cordial to one another, but Danny says that this is not true. He believes that Bob hated Sammy and that he is a liar. Pat agreed with Danny, stating that Sammy did not trust Bob. On June 3, 1992, at around 5:30am, Sammy left Danny's apartment and found Bob's son (from a previous marriage) taking pictures of him. Sammy confronted Bob's son and told him that he was not violating the court order.
Danny believes that Bob hired a hitman to kill Sammy because he was unhappy about losing Pat and that he was living with her. Danny claims that Sammy and Pat were going to get married the week after his death. However, Bob claims that he was not upset that they were going to do so. He also appeared to have the perfect alibi: he was on maneuvers with his Army National Guard unit on the night of Sammy's murder. The camp he was at was 150 miles away; it would have been physically impossible for him to have committed the crime. He also claimed that he did not have the money to hire a hitman to kill Danny.
After Bob was cleared of any involvement by the police, he claimed that Pat was the real killer, saying, first of all, that she does not have a concrete alibi for the time of Sammy's murder. He first suspected that she was the killer when their two sons told him that they went to the forest the day that Sammy was killed. They allegedly said specific details about the crime that he does not believe they would have learned second-hand. He even videotaped them talking about what they knew; he then presented the tape to the police.
Danny believes that Bob coached his sons into making false statements about their mother. Authorities seemed to agree, as they dismissed the testimony as unreliable. They also believe that Pat also had an airtight alibi. She claimed to have been at home with the boys at the time of Sammy's murder. She was also eventually eliminated as a suspect.
After Pat was cleared, Bob once again told police of a possible suspect; this time, it was Danny. Bob believes that Danny may have killed Sammy because he was in love with Pat. At first, she assumed that Bob was responsible, but she now also suspects that Danny was involved. After Sammy's death, Danny told one of her friends that he was in love with her. He, however, claims that he is not attracted to her.
On the morning of Sammy's murder, his father and the police sergeant broke the news to Danny and Pat. He apparently began yelling and saying that Bob was the killer. He then grabbed his shotgun and ran for Bob's house. His father was able to calm him down. Pat believes that his hysterical reaction was a clever ploy to hide the fact that he was the killer. Once again, however, the authorities were able to confirm that he also had an alibi for the night of Sammy's murder. Several witnesses saw him bar-hopping into the early morning hours of June 7, 1992.
Based on the evidence, the FBI have ruled out Bob, Pat, and Danny in the case; however, they still believe that they each should be considered a suspect. Also, the local authorities suspect that Sammy may have known his killer.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 28, 1994 episode. It is one of the most well-known cases from the series.
Results: Solved. With the investigation stalled, Sammy's family hired private investigator Alan Cates in March of 1998. Within a few months, he received an anonymous tip that led him to a witness, Kirk Thomas Bell, who was with his twenty-nine-year-old high school friend Guy Jackson Price on the morning of June 7, 1992. At the time, Price was on leave from the Army. Kirk confessed to Alan that he and Price were out driving through the park that morning when Price robbed and killed Sammy. After killing him, Price tried unsuccessfully to set the car on fire to cover up the crime. As the FBI originally suspected, the murder was indeed a random act of violence. Other witnesses had also reported seeing Price's car near Sammy's vehicle on the morning of the murder. Investigators located the guns used in the murder at Price's parents' home.
On July 24, 1998, Price was arrested and charged with murder. At his trial in May of 1999, his defense claimed that Kirk was the actual shooter. However, the jury didn't buy this; Price was convicted of murder and is now serving a life sentence. He became eligible for parole in 2012 and 2017 but was denied. After being denied parole in July 2019, Guy Price was granted regular parole in March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic at age 51. His current whereabouts are not known.
In July of 1999, Kirk Bell was arrested and charged with trying to set fire to Sammy's vehicle. It is not known if he was convicted on those charges.
- Reward Upped To In Slaying
- 6 years later, no killer found
- PI Credited With Cracking Killing
- Triad PI Helps Crack '92 Murder Case
- Hunting Trip Ended In 92 Killing, Man Tells Augusta Court
- Arrest In 92 Slaying Boosts PI's Stature
- Trial Lawyers Say Client Not Shooter In Augusta Slaying (Page 1) (Page 2)
- Price Convicted Of GW Slaying (Page 1) (Page 2)
- Price's Lawyer Asks For New Trial
- Price Denied Bond, Retrial
- Staunton Man Indicted For Trying To Set Fire To Wheeler's Vehicle
- Convicted Killer's Sentencing Put Off
- Price Gets Life Term For Killing
- Guy Price Parole Decision
- Sammy Wheeler Obituary
- Sammy Wheeler at Find A Grave