Centennial, CO

Jury convicts man of 2020 Centennial homicide

Heather Willard

An 18th District Court jury found Samuel Isaiah Birch, 32, guilty of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and tampering with physical evidence for his actions in a 2020 Thanksgiving day robbery and murder of a convenience-store clerk in Centennial.

According to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s office, Birch fatally shot a convenience store clerk in the abdomen at a Circle K convenience store at 8263 South Quebec Street in Centennial.

Deputies reported they found the store clerk with a single gunshot wound to the abdomen. The clerk died from his injury after being transported to the hospital. Deputies reviewed the store’s security footage and saw a man wearing a mask and hooded sweatshirt who approached the clerk and asked for a carton of cigarettes. Then, the man calmly pointed a long-barreled revolver through the plexiglass divider and demanded everything in the register.

“Dude, it’s going to be you, your stomach, or the money,” the armed man said, according to the DA’s office. “I can shoot you when I leave or I can shoot you right now.”

After the clerk complied with the demands, the robber thanked him before shooting him in the stomach and walking out.

Investigators identified Birch as the shooter by connecting him to a similar armed robbery of another convenience store that occurred just two hours earlier.

“This was an entirely senseless act of inhumanity,” said Colorado’s 18th District Attorney John Kellner. “This defendant needlessly ended the life of an innocent man, who had done nothing but comply with his demands.”

Birch was found guilty by a jury of all counts: first-degree murder after-deliberation, two counts of aggravated robbery and tampering with physical evidence.

“I want to thank the men and women of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, and the witnesses who came forward with information about this case,” said Assistant District Attorney Tom Byrnes, who tried the case with Deputy District Attorney Lisa Gramer. “Their quick work making an identification in this case took a very dangerous suspect off the streets.”

Birch faces life in prison for the first-degree murder convictions and additional years for the other charges at his April 22 sentencing hearing.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

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