College football player accused of killing ex-girlfriend after breakup declared love for her hours later

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A football at Division III Maryville (Tennessee) College faces a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl he was dating.

Knox Office officials announced Wednesday that William Riley Gaul, a freshman wide receiver, was arrested late Tuesday night in connection with the death of Emma . Officials said Gaul was being held at the Knox Jail on $750,000 bond.

Riley Gaul and

A preliminary hearing has been set for Dec. 2.

Sheriff’s officials said Walker was found dead of a gunshot wound inside her house Monday morning. Officials said evidence at the scene indicted Gaul fired shots into her bedroom from outside the house while she slept.

Gaul and Walker were a couple who recently broke up and Gaul refused to the split, Walker’s aunt told the Knoxville News Sentinel

“She had chosen to move on,” Jenny Weldon said. “”He refused to accept it. He chose not to accept her wishes.”

Police put him under surveillance because of a concern that he’d destroy evidence. But hours before he was arrested, Gaul tweeted a tribute to Walker. 

“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 tweeted.



Gaul’s avatar on twitter is a photo of Walker and his profile reads: “Living everyday through Emma Walker. I love you beautiful and I know you’re in a better place now.” 

Walker was a student and cheerleader at High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. Maryville’s football roster indicates Gaul graduated from High.

Maryville athletic spokesman Chris Cannon said in a statement that, “Maryville College is co-operating fully with Sheriff’s in this investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family and friends and other individuals affected by this tragedy.”

Maryville coach Shaun Hayes said through a spokesman that Gaul has been dismissed from the football program. Maryville already has completed its season.

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