The Tragedy Of Preparing For A Zombie Apocalypse

His father trained him to defend himself against zombies but never expected what happened next.

Edward Anderson
Oct 29 · 5 min read
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Eldon Samuel III Image from Getty Images

Eldon Samuel Jr. (EJ) was afraid of the way things were going. His fear was not based on anything political, rather what he saw as the biggest threat to his family; the forthcoming zombie apocalypse. He wanted to make sure his family was protected.

Part of his training was watching the hit AMC show The Walking Dead. Rather than viewing it as an entertaining show, EJ thought of the show as a training guide. He believed the producers and writers dropped hints of what people should be doing to prepare for the inevitable.

He began to prep his family for the zombies’ arrival. EJ bought weapons to help contain and defend his family against the undead. The artillery included machetes, crossbows, and various guns.

To ensure his family's safety, specifically his sons, EJ decided to teach them how to use the weapons. Eldon Samuel III was the older of the two boys, so he was given more training with the equipment than his 13-year-old brother.

Part of their training was watching the aforementioned show. They were also taught to play video games like Call Of Duty to make sure they knew how to kill people. With each session, EJ would critique his sons’ ability to kill the enemies.

If they did a good job, they would get compliments. If they didn’t, things were bad. Very bad.

Tina Samuel objected to her husband training the boys for the zombie apocalypse. She insisted that it wasn’t real and that the things EJ saw on TV were fictional. Her arguments fell on deaf ears.

EJ grew angrier every time she told him that he was following a fool’s path. Every time she derided his commitment to their safety, he beat her. The abuse got to the point where she became afraid to speak up; if she did, it might be the last time.

Eldon III and his brother were no strangers to their father’s violent wrath. When their opponents in the video game got the best of them, EJ would hit them. He claimed that he was making them men, strong men.

He argued that if his sons weren't able to beat a video game, how could they beat the genuine threat of a zombie trying to kill them. Strong men won the game, and they could take a punch from their father if they didn't.

The family was embroiled in a violent cycle. There didn’t seem to be a way for Tina and the teen boys to escape. EJ’s belief that the world was heading towards a zombie apocalypse consumed his every thought. When those thoughts were disrupted, he would hit the members of the family closest to him.

Eldon Samuel Jr. would hit his children one time too many.

On May 24, 2014, Eldon Samuel III sat in the living room playing video games. His father had started to rant about the family not being ready for the onslaught of zombies that was on the way. But the younger Samuel noted that his father was acting weird.

EJ exhibited signs of turning into his most feared creatures. His oldest son began to plan for the worst. He knew where the weapons were and how to use them if his father’s transformation continued.

When his brother joined him to play the video game, EJ seemed less than lucid. He began rambling incoherently. Eldon III observed his father, knowing that he would need to decide about his father’s fate soon.

Things escalated quickly in the house. EJ hit his youngest son. Rage took over him, and the punches were more intense than they had ever been before. Eldon III went to the weapons closet.

The young man used machetes to try and stop his father from hitting his brother. His plan worked temporarily. EJ turned his rage on to his namesake. A few punches landed on the teen’s jaw and other areas of his body.

A kick knee to the groin offered Eldon III enough time to grab another weapon. It was one of his father’s guns.

Several shots were fired. And the young boy’s life was forever altered.

Eldon Samuel III walked out of the house and called the police. When officers showed up on the scene, he told them everything that happened. The cops that spoke with him were skeptical that things were truly that bad. Until their colleagues came out of the house, his story confirmed.

They took him into the station. No one was quite sure what to do with a confessed, 14-year-old murderer. There was no reason to believe prosecutors would even want to charge the kid with anything.

Prosecutors looked at the case and charged Eldon Samuel III with the first-degree murder of his brother and father. The basis of their case was his confession to the police. They believed it was a slam dunk case because the teen didn’t clean up the scene.

Defense attorneys leaned into the abuse EJ doled out. They called Tina Samuel to the stand. She confirmed that her husband was concerned about zombies and trained the boys to defend against them. It was so serious that they separated because she couldn't deal with the insanity.

When asked about the abuse, the mother began to cry. She admitted that her husband was violent. He abused the entire family when they didn't behave the way he thought they should. There was story after story about the beatings. Most of them centered around the boys and Tina being unprepared to move because of the zombie apocalypse.

He was convicted. The jury found him guilty of first-degree murder of his brother and second-degree murder of his father.

The judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison. While he agreed with the prosecution, he took into account the abuse that the young man dealt with.

The Samuel family was destroyed because of an obsession with zombies.


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Edward Anderson

Written by

Edward has written hundreds of acclaimed true crime articles and has won numerous awards for his short stories.



The most informative, researched, and entertaining true crime stories on the internet.

Edward Anderson

Written by

Edward has written hundreds of acclaimed true crime articles and has won numerous awards for his short stories.



The most informative, researched, and entertaining true crime stories on the internet.

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