Rebecca Walker, girlfriend and co-defendant of Gavin Smith, testifies during his murder trial Tuesday morning. Walker, now 19, said that, during a video chat with Smith on Dec. 9, 2020, she “encouraged” him to “hurry up and do it” with things like “please” and “get it over with” regarding killing his family.
The girlfriend and co-defendant of an Elkview teenager accused of killing four family members in late 2020 testified Tuesday that she video chatted with him at the time of the shootings.
Rebecca Walker, now 19, said that, during a video chat with Gavin Smith on Dec. 9, 2020, she “encouraged” Smith by saying he should “hurry up and do it,” and things like “please” and “get it over with,” she testified.
Smith, then 16, showed her via video chat a gun and knife he intended to use to kill his mother, Risa Saunders, stepfather Daniel Long and two younger brothers, 12-year-old Gage Ripley and 3-year-old Jameson Long, she said.
The four were found shot to death in their home on Elkview’s Cemetery Drive on Dec. 13, 2020.
Walker said she did not see Smith commit the killings because the screen on her phone was “pitch black.”
Tuesday marked the second day of the murder trial against Smith, now 18. He faces four counts of first-degree murder and four counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the four shooting deaths.
Smith testified that he eventually went to the home of Walker’s grandmother outside Clendenin, where Walker was staying while the woman traveled to visit her sister for a few days. Walker said she sneaked Smith into her grandmother’s basement and then to her bedroom.
He stayed in her bed and behind a dresser until deputies came to the house looking for him on Dec. 13.
Deputies testified that they found Smith hiding behind a dresser that had been pulled out from a wall.
Walker had originally been charged as a juvenile with first-degree murder in the deaths. As part of a plea bargain, prosecutors dropped the murder charges against her and she instead pleaded guilty to four counts of accessory after the fact.
As part of the plea deal, Walker agreed to testify against Smith. She is serving a 10-year sentence at Lakin Correctional Center and has a parole hearing in June 2023, according to the Wests Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation website.
Walker said there was no valid or good reason for Smith to kill the family members.
“But it was only because he was wanting to spend time with me and his family, or his parents I should say, his parents would not let him do that,” Walker said.
Smith was frustrated and angry and having a hard time at home because he didn’t like being told what to do.
“That was the reason this happened,” she said.
Also Tuesday, Detective Jared Payne of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office testified that, in a Facebook message between Walker and Smith, Smith referred to himself as a “murderer” and specifically mentioned shooting Jameson.
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