College football player accused of killing cheerleader ex-girlfriend

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Several hours after she was found dead, he posted a series of tweets professing love for the victim. (KTRK)

A freshman football player at Maryville College has been charged in a murder investigation of a high school cheerleader.

William Riley Gaul, 18, was charged with first degree murder, according to the Knox County Sheriff's Office. Martha Dooley, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office said the victim's name was Emma Walker, 16. The teen was found dead in her home with a gunshot wound.

Investigators believe the suspect fired into the teen's bedroom from outside the home while she was sleeping. Gaul was arrested at the Woodlands Apartments on Cherokee Trail and is being held on a $750,000 bond at the Knox County Jail.

Investigators believe Gaul was trying to destroy evidence related to the investigation.

Several hours after she was found dead, Gaul posted a series of tweets about the victim.


Weeks before he cryptically tweeted, "I'd do anything to have it all back."

Walker's family claims that Walker had ended her relationship with Gaul, but he refused to accept it.

WATE reports that Ashlee Alleman, Gaul's mother, said, "Riley did not do this. He would not hurt here because he loved Emma dearly. He is not a monster."

Alleman said Walker and Gaul were still really close. She said Gaul helped Walker with a paper for school on Sunday.

Maryville College released a statement, saying: "Maryville College is cooperating fully with the Knox County Sheriff's Department in this investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family and friends and other individuals affected by this tragedy."

A crowdfunding page was set up to help Walker's family with funeral expenses.
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