Riley Gaul found guilty of 1st degree murder of Knox County teen

Local News

Riley Gaul has been found guilty of first-degree murder on the seventh day of his murder trial. He was convicted of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend, Emma Walker, through her bedroom wall in November 2016.

There was an audible gasp in the courtroom when the verdict was read.

Following the verdict, Gaul was sentenced to life in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 51 years.

“Every day we seek justice for victims and today is no different,” said District Attorney General Charme Allen after court was dismissed.

Allen applauds the good work of courageous citizens and law enforcement.

Gaul’s parents were also emotional in the courtroom as their son was put into handcuffs.

The prosecution and defense each rested their cases on Monday. Closing arguments wrapped up Tuesday morning and jurors deliberated for about four hours.

The prosecution and defense agreed Gaul fired the gunshots, but they had different theories – premeditated murder and reckless homicide.

“two dramatic theories but if you look at the facts, the prosecution hammered planning, premeditation and the jury did not believe he was trying to get her attention,” said WATE 6 On Your Side legal analyst Greg Isaacs.

Issacs believes this was a difficult case for the defense.

“Very difficult any time your client seems obsessive, seems like they are stalking,” he said.

He says the jury exercised a great deal of common sense and made the right decision.

“The jury did not buy this excuse that you’re shooting through a house to get someones attention because you care about them. That would set drive by shootings back forever,” he said.

Gaul was also found guilty on counts of theft, tampering with evidence, reckless endangerment, and felony murder. 

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