- Details surface on murder weapons in Farmville slayings
FARMVILLE—Two weapons—a ball-peen hammer and a wood-splitting maul—were used to bludgeon four people found dead inside a Longwood University professor’s home in September, a source close to the investigation confirmed yesterday.
Also yesterday, Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III, 20, of Castro Valley, Calif., was served with indictments on six counts of capital murder in the bludgeoning deaths of professor Debra S. Kelley, 53; her estranged husband, Mark Niederbrock, 50; their daughter, Emma Niederbrock, 16; and Melanie Wells, 18, Emma’s friend from Inwood, W.Va.
All four were discovered dead Sept. 18 in Kelley’s Farmville home.
McCroskey, who recorded violent rap music using the name “Syko Sam,“ also faces a charge of grand larceny that accuses him of stealing Mark Niederbrock’s car.
A Prince Edward County grand jury returned the indictments Oct. 19, but they were sealed until yesterday.
Investigators recovered several possible weapons from the home, including the ball-peen hammer and wood-splitting maul, according to the court papers unsealed yesterday. A maul is a tool with a long handle with a head like an ax on one side and a hammer on the other.
All four victims were bludgeoned beyond recognition, the source said.
Officials also removed from the Kelley home a meat cleaver and a red-stained knife, but authorities do not believe either of those weapon was used in the killings, the source said.
Three of the four bodies were found in a downstairs bedroom, according to court documents. The other was found in a room upstairs. Authorities have not said which bodies were found in which room.
Authorities believe one or more of the victims might have been attacked while sleeping, but they don’t know that for certain, the source said.
The ball-peen hammer and the maul already were in the home and were not acquired for the purpose of committing the killings, the source said.
McCroskey has not discussed the crimes with investigators.
Authorities say they might never know on what day the three female victims died, although investigators say they believe Mark Niederbrock was killed after Kelley and the two teenagers. Charging documents filed earlier in the case say Niederbrock was killed Sept. 17, the day before the bodies were found.
At least 98 items were recovered from Kelley’s home, including sketchbooks, electronic equipment, a pair of stained eyeglasses, and a note to Wells found on a kitchen table. The search warrant return did not indicate what the note said or who wrote it.
McCroskey might have documented his activities while at Kelley’s home using a computer, cell phone or camera, according to an affidavit for a search warrant. Digital cameras might contain pictures of the crime scene, the affidavit states.
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