Maryville College athlete indicted after death of Knoxville teen

William Gaul in court on December 2, 2016

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A former Maryville College football player was indicted after the death of a Knoxville teen.

William Riley Gaul was indicted Monday on charges for first degree murder, especially aggravated stalking, theft, tampering with evidence, reckless endangerment, employing a firearm during a dangerous felony and felony murder.

Investigators believe Gaul shot into Emma Walker’s bedroom while the teen was sleeping. Walker, 16, was a cheerleader and student at Central High School. Friends and family say the teen had hopes to become a NICU nurse.

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.

The search warrant was to obtain DNA evidence from Gaul to see if it matched DNA found on the gun, but it ended up not being needed as Gaul voluntarily gave a DNA sample.

He is scheduled for an arraignment on January 30 in Knox County Criminal Court.

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