Samuel Steel III, a Michigan man with six prior felony convictions was wanted for the 2011 fatal shooting of Milo Conklin and tracked down in Georgia by his dog-fighting connections, reports Wood TV.
Steel, 44, was charged as a habitual offender and convicted on Friday in the 8th District Court of first-degree murder, two counts of felony firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the fatal shooting of Conklin on Easter Sunday night, April 24, 2011.
Public Safety officers who responded to the scene in 2011 at about 9:10 p.m., found Conklin face down on the steps of a house in the 600 block of Mabel Street.
Conklin, 35, was shot in the chest, back, stomach and thigh, and died of his wounds shortly after having been taken by ambulance to Bronson Hospital, reports WoodTV.
A second victim, a 51-year-old Kalamazoo man, was also discovered at the scene to have minor injuries from a gunshot but refused treatment.
Kalamazoo County District Judge Paul J. Bridenstine ordered Steel to stand trial in Conklin’s killing in September 2011, after hearing testimony at a probable-cause hearing that Steel had suspected Conklin of breaking into his home and stealing from him.
Witness Walter Lee Johnson testified that Steel asked him for a gun on April 24 after Steel spotted Conklin on Mabel Street. Lee said he dropped Steel off in the area and then heard five or six gunshots come from Mabel. The two men later picked up Steel, who still had Johnson’s gun with him.
Johnson testified that Steel said to them, “Y’all didn’t believe I’d do it, did you?”
Steel was arrested in August 2012 by the FBI in Georgia, where he had been hiding under the alias Glen Norris. Authorities tracked him down through dog breeding records, which linked him to a Kalamazoo dog fighting ring busted in April 2012.
A Kalamazoo animal control officer knew Steel was using sperm banks to preserve his dog's blood line, and she contacted those banks.
In addition to his six previous felony convictions, not long after Conklin was killed, Steel was charged in connection with the dog-fighting ring and nine federal heroin distribution charges.
Steel could face life in prison without the chance of parole for the conviction of first-degree murder, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette.