Widow shares her heartbreak after husband shot, killed outside BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Tuesday morning, Julius “Juice” Sampson Junior woke up in his bed next to his loving wife. The two had just gotten back from their week-long family cruise to the Bahamas and wanted nothing more than to stay in bed all day.

They were exhausted. Their suitcases still sat outside in their cart, stuffed with wrinkled shirts and unpacked souvenirs.

But Julius had been away from his job as a barber in Winston-Salem and he missed the sweet sound of clippers as they cut through an unkempt beard and the icy smell of aftershave as it filled his nose.

The father of one kissed his wife Keyia goodbye and left out the door. Just a few hours later he would be shot and killed outside of BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.

An investigation by Winston-Salem police officers found that Julius and Robert Granato had gotten into an argument inside the restaurant Tuesday afternoon. Witnesses reported that Sampson had tried to defend a waitress who was being harassed.

Granato and Sampson’s argument continued outside into the parking lot.

Police believe that at some point Granato pulled out a .22 caliber revolver and shot Sampson.

Sampson fell to the ground and would never get up.

A newly obtained video showed a group of people tackled Granato to the ground and held him there until police arrived.

Sampson was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“When they called me I thought that it was a mistake,” his wife, Keyia, told FOX8 Friday afternoon.

The news sent a rush of cold air through her body. Not 10 minutes beforehand, she and Julius were texting each other.

“He said I want you to send me the video from the hairy chest contest,” Keyia described. The hairy chest contest was labeled as one of the highlights of their trip to the Bahamas. Not the sandy beaches or the private island location.

“He did not have a hairy chest, he shaved his chest. The man said, ‘we need 12 men up here.’ I convinced him to go up there and he does not do stuff like that,” she said.

Keyia sent him the video, knowing that he wanted to brag about it to his friends.

“He then said, 'I just want you to know that I love you,'” she said.

That was the last message he sent her.

“I wish I would have just called him and said, ‘Come home for the day,’” she said.

Keyia and the rest of her family have been in a fog since Tuesday evening. Keyia and her 3-year-old daughter have not been back to her house since losing Sampson.

Keyia said it took her two days since his death to find the words to explain it to her 3-year-old Jewel.

“I finally was able to tell her [Thursday]. And I expressed to her that daddy has a new job now. She said, 'No daddy works at the barbershop.' I said, 'No, daddy works for Jesus now. He had to take a trip to heaven, now he works as an angel. Now his job is to watch over us.'”

It's a  job that his family says they can feel he is doing proudly and successfully.

“Like when the air blows I can feel [him],” Keyia described.

Sampson was a beloved father, barber and community leader.

His funeral will be held at Union Baptist Church on 1200 Trade Street NW, Winston-Salem, NC, 27107.

Visitation will begin at noon, and the service will start at 1 p.m.

Keyia also asks people to visit the several organizations that her husband was a part of:

  • @thetriadidocrew - an Instagram page that helps newly married couples to connect.
  • @supremelegacybarbershop - an Instagram page for his barbershop.
  • The Tutor Boss - which is a newly form mentorship program that Sampson had not yet had the opportunity to create a social media page for.
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