Trial for man accused of killing Knoxville teen moved to 2018

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The trial for the man accused of shooting and killing a Knoxville teen has been pushed back to April 30.

Riley Gaul, a former Maryville College football player, is accused of shooting Emma Walker, 16, through her bedroom wall while she slept in November 2016.

The sheriff’s office said at a press conference on November 30 that Gaul fired into her home while she slept, knowing where she was in the house, and then jumped the fence and fired again. Investigators say the two had an ongoing tumultuous relationship.

The high school cheerleader is remembered as a leader, both in and out of the classroom. Friends says she always had a smile on her face. She wanted to be a neonatal nurse when she graduated from college.

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital announced in January a room in the new neonatal intensive care unit would be named after Walker.

According to the indictment, Gaul stalked Walker while having a weapon for some time between October and November 2016. Investigators believe Gaul stole a gun without the owner’s consent and tried to hide it from law enforcement.

A search warrant indicates Gaul’s grandfather James Walker discovered his gun was missing and contacted the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. He said he discovered the gun was missing on November 18 after he had driven the vehicle to Maryville College to swap vehicles with Gaul to get the tires repaired. When James Walker drove his own car back, he found the gun he normally kept under the driver’s seat was missing. He feared Gaul had taken it because he recently expressed thoughts of suicide.

A friend said Gaul had showed him the gun during a social gathering on November 19. On November 22, the day after Emma Walker’s death, he said Gaul tried to recruit him to help him discard the pistol. Knox County deputies coordinated with the friend and he met with Gaul and took him to Gaul’s stepfather’s house. Gaul left the car and returned with a garbage bag of items that included the pistol.

Deputies stopped the friend’s vehicle shortly thereafter and the pistol, with the same serial number as John Walker’s, was in the front seat. Police believe the weapon was used in Emma Walker’s murder.

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