Samuel Booth, James Wood: Church Pastor’s Double Life Led To Christmas Murder–On ID’s ‘Shattered’ Documentary


Pastor Samuel Booth, who was murdered by James Wood, is the featured story on ID’s Shattered documentary. Rev. Samuel Nathaniel Booth Jr., died in his trailer 23 years ago after James Wood stabbed him to death. Shattered on Investigation Discovery will retrace investigators’ steps, and will show how the Maryland preacher’s death affected his family and members of the community.


Shattered episode “False Prophet”

After a beloved minister is found dead, detectives unearth a dark secret that could have played a role in his death. Meanwhile, a worried mother wonders why her son didn’t show up for Christmas dinner.


Samuel Booth Case: The Preacher Had a Secret

The case of Minister Samuel Booth, 54, came to investigators’ attention in 1994 after they found his body in his trailer. Samuel Booth’s trailer was located in the back of the church where he ministered.


Fundamentalist Christian Faith Tabernacle church members became suspicious when Samuel Booth didn’t show up for Christmas Eve service. When police came to the Middle River Road home, they discovered Booth had been stabbed more than a dozen times. It looked like a frenzied assault, leading police to believe he was killed by someone he knew.

On the surface, Samuel Booth was a lovable and charismatic preacher who led and often consoled his parishioners. However, what detectives learned about the preacher’s background was disturbing and shocking.


Detectives say when Samuel Booth wasn’t preaching, he was spending his time with an unsavory group of people who involved him in a seedy lifestyle of addiction. There were also rumors the preacher was gay.


He kept his secret life hidden for the most part. Although some neighbors thought they remembered hearing loud parties in the woods, the Baltimore Sun reported in a 1995 article.

Before the murder, he had spent time with James Thomas Wood, a 24-year old addict who was on the hunt for his next fix. Authorities say Wood came to Samuel Booth’s trailer as he was preparing to go to the church service.


When Samuel Booth ordered James Wood out of his home, a crazed James Wood killed the minister and robbed him. He eventually confessed to the murder.


People who knew James Wood said he was a troubled kid who had problems all of his life. They believe he just snapped. Today, he is incarcerated at the Jessup Correctional Institution where he is serving a life sentence plus 20 years.




Watch the premiere unlocked now →

Posted by Investigation Discovery on Thursday, August 24, 2017


Samuel Booth’s congregants wept bitterly upon learning of his death. They couldn’t believe that he could be involved in such ungodly acts. However, they say even if he was leading a double life, he was still a caring man who loved God.


According to the Baltimore Sun, Samuel Booth had such a fiery passion for preaching that he left the previous church, took many of its members, and formed his own storefront church before moving to the Middle River Road location. Samuel Booth also had a very close relationship with his mother.


Shattered airs the story of James Wood and Samuel Booth on Investigation Discovery each Wednesday at 9 p.m. Last week’s Shattered on Investigation Discovery told the story of Lori Jones. Note: certain words used in this article were omitted to keep it at a safe rating.




[Main Image via CC0 Creative Commons/Fair Use]

Traciy Curry-Reyes

Traciy Curry-Reyes is the founder and editor-in-chief of TV Crime Sky. She began her career as a true crime & entertainment freelance writer in the 1990's for her website, The Movies Based on True Stories Database/Archives. She has contributed content to other websites, such as and Traciy also appears as a true-crime expert and commentator on TV One's Fatal Attraction, For My Man, and Justice by Any Means; Investigation Discovery's Murder Calls and Scorned; Oxygen's Snapped; FOX's Crime Watch Daily; and Lifetime Television's Killer Kids.