Former Div. III WR found guilty of murdering 16-year-old cheerleader who was his ex-girlfriend

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A sad, tragic story has, at least legally, come to a conclusion.

In November of 2016, former Tennessee Central High School and Maryville College football player William Riley Gaul was arrested on one count of first-degree murder.  It’s alleged that Gaul fired a weapon into the bedroom of Emma Jane Walker, killing the 16-year-old Central High cheerleader.

This week, an eight-man, four-woman jury found the 19-year-old former Div. III wide receiver guilty of first-degree murder.  Gaul was also found guilty of stalking, tampering with evidence, theft of between $500 and $1,000, and possession of a firearm in a dangerous felony

The guilty verdicts came after the jury had deliberated for just over four hours.

According to the Associated Press, the 19-year-old Gaul was immediately given a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 51 years.  Gaul, who was 18 at the time of the murder, would be 70 years old the first time he comes up for parole.

Prior to the murder, Gaul and Walker had been involved in a relationship that the latter had broken off.  Walker was believed to be sleeping when she was hit by a single bullet.

From the AP:

Prosecutors said Gaul intended to kill his ex-girlfriend in anger over the end of their two-year relationship. Defense lawyer Wesley Stone said Gaul never intended to harm Walker and should be convicted of the lesser charge of reckless homicide.

Obviously, Gaul was dismissed from the Div. III football team very shortly after his 2016 arrest.