Drifter convicted of murdering man inside South Beach apartment in 1997

Anthony Sampson
Anthony Sampson Miami Herald

Eighteen years after he strangled an American Airlines employee with a phone cord inside a South Beach apartment, Anthony Sampson has been convicted as a killer.

It took a jury less than three hours on Friday to find Sampson guilty of second-degree murder for the violent May 1997 slaying of Casey Sigler, whose body was found inside his ransacked apartment on the 1600 block of Lenox Avenue.

Sampson, 50, faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced on July 14.

The murder of Sigler, 41, had gone unsolved for more than a decade until a computer check showed that it was Sampson’s palm print that had been found on a damaged file cabinet inside the apartment. His prints were also found on Sigler’s Toyota Celica, which had been stolen and found abandoned in Overtown, prosecutors Annette Rasco and Joe Mansfield told jurors at trial.

The drifter had fled to North Carolina after the murder, but returned to Miami, where he kept getting arrested for minor crimes. In 2013, he later admitted the murder to Miami Beach police detectives.

He said Sigler had picked him up from Biscayne Boulevard. After a tryst, Sigler refused to pay him any money and the two men got into a vicious fight. At trial, Sampson claimed the killing was not murder because it had been done in the “heat of passion.”