A YOUTH has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of his entire family, including his three-year-old brother.
Gavin Smith, 18, received three life sentences for the December 2020 murders of his mother, stepfather and 12-year-old brother in West Virginia.
He was also sentenced to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder over the death of his youngest brother.
But Smith, who was sentenced as an adult in December, is eligible for parole after 15 years because the state doesn’t allow juveniles to be sentenced to life in prison without mercy.
Judge Kenneth Ballard said he only granted clemency to Smith because the law required it.
“Their actions can only be described as acts of pure evil. I find that you have no remorse for your actions,” the judge said.
He was 16 when he and his then 17-year-old girlfriend Rebecca Lynn Walke were arrested for the murders of Daniel Dale Long, 37, Risa Mae Saunders, 39, Gage Ripley, 12, and Jameson Long, 3.
Walke was sentenced to 10 years in prison as an adult after subsequently pleading guilty to aiding and abetting.
The family was found dead by a relative days after the murders, before Smith hid behind a dresser in a separate house.
Prosecutors said Smith shot his relatives in the head while they slept so he could spend more time with his girlfriend.
His youngest brother was hiding under his cot when he was shot.
Walke testified during his trial that she encouraged Smith to kill his family so they could be together and was on FaceTime when the murders happened.
Smith’s defense attorney, John Sullivan, said Smith was “trapped in his household because a combination of his family’s rules and COVID closed the schools,” according to Metro News.
Victim Daniel Long’s family spoke during Smith’s sentencing and said they adopted him when he was 14 months old, WSAZ reported.
“As the numbness gripped my body, I tried to understand how someone could have so much hate for eliminating four people including their own flesh and blood in such a violent and cowardly manner, particularly three-year-old Jameson, who loved Gavin unconditionally,” said his mother Susan Long,
Smith apologized during his sentencing, saying, “I regret this and if I could I would take it back because it is one of my deepest regrets.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7163523/teen-sentenced-r-massacre-entire-family/ Teenager, 18, sentenced to life in prison for massacring his entire family, including brother, 3, so he can be with his girlfriend