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West Virginia Teen Who Killed His Mother, Stepfather, 2 Brothers Sentenced To Life Behind Bars

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Source: West Virginia Regional Jail; UNSPLASH

Jan. 17 2023, Published 1:42 p.m. ET

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A West Virginia 18-year-old boy who fatally shot four members of his family two years ago will serve multiple life sentences in prison for the crime.

Gavin Smith was found guilty on Dec. 8 of three counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder and a firearm charge for the 2020 slayings of his stepfather, Daniel Dale Long, 37, mother, Risa Mae Saunders, 39, and two brothers, Gage Ripley, 12, and 3-year-old Jameson Long, WOWK-TV reported.

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On Jan. 17, a Kanawha County Court judge handed down three life sentences with mercy for the first-degree murder counts, making Smith eligible for parole in 15 years, according to WSAZ.

On the second-degree murder count, he received a 40-year sentence, and the judge gave him a 10-year sentence in connection with the firearm charge.

On December 13, 2020, Smith was 16 when his family members were found dead by a relative in their Elkview home.

The defendant was later located hiding behind a dresser and wearing bloody clothing at a home in Clendenin.

Smith’s then-17-year-old girlfriend, Rebecca Lynn Walker, pleaded guilty as an adult in 2021 to four counts of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and she received a 10-year sentence, according to WOWK-TV.

“These events happened in a time in her life when she had just lost her mother,” Walker’s attorney, Robbie Long said at a hearing last March, WSAZ reported. “She latched onto her boyfriend and confided in him and believed his stories and ultimately participated in her role in these crimes.”

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At the hearing to determine if Walker should be transferred to an adult facility upon turning 18, the assistant prosecutor on the case, Don Morris, noted that the timing of the murders coincided with Walker's grandmother going out of town and she and Smith "were going to have a chance to spend several days together.”


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