Former College Football Player Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder



William Riley Gaul, a former Division III college football player, was found guilty of the 2016 murder of his girlfriend, 16-year-old cheerleader Emma Walker, and has received a life sentence. Gaul, who played football at Maryville College in Tennessee, was convicted of first-degree murder. He is not eligible for parole for at least 51 years. Gaul killed Walker after becoming upset when he ended their two-year relationship.

Here is more information on Walker’s murder, via ESPN:

Both sides agreed Gaul fired the shots from outside the Walker family’s home in Knoxville. The debate was over his state of mind at the time.

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.

Gaul also was found guilty of felony murder, stalking, tampering with evidence, theft of between $500 and $1,000, and possession of a firearm in a dangerous felony. Gaul had pleaded guilty before trial to reckless endangerment. Sentencing on the non-murder convictions was scheduled for July 20.

November 23 2016 – [⚠️: murder, intimate partner violence, gun violence] A #Tennessee #college #footballplayer allegedly killed his #cheerleader girlfriend because she broke up with him, and then professed his twisted love for her several hours after she was found dead, according to reports Wednesday. #WilliamRileyGaul, 18, a freshman wide receiver at #DivisionIIIMaryvilleCollege, faces a first-degree #murder charge in the shooting death of #EmmaJeanWalker, 16, who attended #CentralHighSchool in #Knoxville. Walker was found dead of a gunshot wound inside her home Monday morning. Evidence at the scene indicated she had been shot from outside while asleep in her bedroom, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, who announced Gaul’s arrest on Wednesday. “I love you Emma, I can’t be around any of that yet, it’s too soon. I know you know I’m dying to be there but understand I can’t. I love you,” Gaul tweeted late Tuesday before he was arrested. He also posted a lengthy tribute that appeared online several hours after she was found dead. “To think that every memory we have, every happy special moment we shared, can’t ever be relived. I love you Emma Jane Walker,” Gaul wrote. “The amount of pain your family, me, the community are in because of this is insurmountable. Every time we held hands, kissed, hugged, to imagine that I’ll never have that ever again hasn’t quite yet hit me yet,” he continued. “I’ll never forget those times we talked about our future and what kind of dog we’d get and how awesome our family would be. I’ll never forget sitting on the couch, watching Dr. Pimple Popper and making popcorn and laughing and holding you,” he wrote. “You’re gone, but I promise your legacy will live on through each and every person who loves and cares about you and that number is endless.” But Jenny Weldon, Walker’s aunt, told the Knoxville News Sentinel that her niece recently ended their relationship, and “had chosen to move on.” “He refused to accept it. He chose not to accept her wishes,” said Weldon, who described her niece as a “beautiful soul” who was eager to graduate and begin pursuing studies to become a neonatal nurse. #domesticviolence

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Josh studied journalism at Seton Hill University. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Campus Sports. Josh is currently a member of the FWAA and USBWA. His work has been featured on Sports Illustrated,,, and many others.
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