A West Virginia teen accused of shooting dead members of his family will be on trial as an adult as he faces four counts of first-degree murder.
Kanawha District Court Judge Kenneth Ballard on Tuesday issued a ruling that changed the 17-year-old defendant Gavin Smith to adult status, Charleston ABC/Fox affiliate WCHS-TV report.
Smith was 16 years old when he allegedly shot and killed his mother, 39 years old Risa Mae Saundersstepfather, 37 years old Daniel Dale Longand his two younger brothers, 12 years old Gage Ripleyand 3 years old Jameson Long.
Smith appeared before Judge Ballard on Tuesday for a hearing to address prosecutors’ request to seek to try the defendant as an adult. Most of the proceedings were closed to the public due to Smith’s then-status as a juvenile defendant, according to WCHS.
Multiple detectives and officers with the sheriff of the West Virginia State Police crime lab are said to have testified before Ballard ruled that Smith would be tried as an adult for allegedly executing his family. he is cold-blooded. Cameras and media were not allowed into the courtroom until Judge Ballard converted Smith to adult status.
Next, prosecutors will send Smith’s case to a grand jury so an indictment can be filed.
Delegates from the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office on December 13, 2020 nearly answered a call about possible homicide victims at a mansion located in the 1300s block of Cemetery Hill Drive in Elkview, based on News about the West Virginia subway. The person who called 911 told emergency dispatchers that they were related to the family who lived in the house and had gone to the residence to check it out because any of them could not be reached for several days, Fox News report.
The caller said the door was open. He went inside where he reported to investigators that he saw three people die “from an apparent act of violence” before going to a nearby home and calling police. Upon arrival at the scene, first responders discovered a fourth body inside the home. A fifth person living in the home, who has only been identified as a minor, was relocated following the murder.
Each victim died from gunshot wounds.
Smith and his girlfriend at the time of the murder, 17 years old Rebecca Walkerboth were arrested in connection with the murder of four people and charged with murder.
While Smith was charged with pulling the trigger and killing four members of his family, prosecutors claimed that Walker “wishfully, illegally, and committed the crime of harboring, concealing, maintaining, and helping help [Smith] after [Smith] committed the murders, “WCHS report.
Walker in July 2021 is said to have pleaded guilty as an adult to four minor counts of first-degree murder following the incident. Each WCHS, Walker’s defense attorney reached an agreement with prosecutors in which she pleaded guilty in exchange for the first-degree murder charge being dropped. Judge Ballard in September sentenced her to 10 years in a state prison.
Although authorities have not revealed a clear motive for the four killings, First Assistant to Senior Public Prosecutors Don Morris was reported to have provided a possible window into the state’s case against Smith during Walker’s sentencing hearing.
Before Walker’s attorney claimed that his client and Smith had “illusioned about their future together,” Morris said the real motive was selfishness and that he appeared to largely blame Smith.
“Rather than delusion, when you look at the behavior of both individuals involved, it is more selfish than delusional. He wanted to spend time together at the cost of four lives,” he said. “We believe the defendant was manipulated to a large extent.”
[image via WCHS screengrab]
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/west-virginia-teen-who-allegedly-massacred-four-family-members-including-baby-brother-to-stand-trial-as-adult/ Gavin Smith is tried as an adult in family murders