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Press Release

New Haven Woman Sentenced to Prison for Lying to Federal Grand Jury about Knowledge of Kidnapping and Murders

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that LAQUASIA SAMMS, also known as “Quasia,” 28, of New Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kari A. Dooley in Bridgeport to 90 days of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for 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, Edward Michael Parks was in Samms’ apartment on Shelton Avenue in New Haven to conduct an illegal sale of firearms.  Samms, Damian Connor, and Tamar Lawrence were also present in the apartment.  When another individual left the apartment with firearms that he had not paid for, Parks, who was armed, held Connor and Lawrence against their will.  Parks collected money and valuables from Connor and Lawrence, and then forced them 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, Parks shot and killed Connor and Lawrence.  Parks then left the scene with Williams and others in the second vehicle and returned to New Haven.

When Parks appeared to believe that Williams was anxious about the murders of Connor and Lawrence, Parks shot and killed Williams 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.

On October 1, 2020, Samms pleaded guilty, admitting that she sent the text messages, and that she withheld other information that was sought by the federal grand jury.

Samms, who is released on bond, is required to report to prison on May 11.

On January 19, 2023, a jury found Parks, also known as “Lee” and “Trouble,” of Raleigh, North Carolina, guilty of two counts of kidnapping resulting in death, and one count of witness tampering by killing.  At sentencing, he faces a mandatory term of imprisonment of life.

This investigation has been 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 Nathaniel J. Gentile and A. Reed Durham, and Assistant State’s Attorney Seth Garbarsky, who has been cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in this matter.

Updated March 30, 2023

Violent Crime