A TEENAGER has been sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of his entire family, including his three-year-old brother.
Gavin Smith, 18, received three life sentences for the December 2020 murders of his mother, stepfather, and 12-year-old brother in West Virginia.
He was also sentenced to 40 years on a second-degree murder charge for the death of his youngest brother.
However, Smith, who was convicted in December as an adult, will be eligible for parole after 15 years because the state does not allow for juveniles to be sentenced to life without mercy.
Judge Kenneth Ballard said he only granted Smith mercy because it was required by law.
“Your actions can only be described as an act of pure evil. I find that you have no remorse for your actions,” the judge said.
He was 16 when he and his then-17-year-old girlfriend Rebecca Lynn Walke were arrested for the shooting deaths of Daniel Dale Long, 37, Risa Mae Saunders, 39, Gage Ripley, 12, and Jameson Long, 3,
Walke was sentenced as an adult to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to accessory after the fact.
The family was found shot dead days after the murders by a relative before Smith was located hiding behind a dresser at a separate home.
Prosecutors said Smith shot his relatives in the head while they slept so he could spend more time with his girlfriend.
His youngest brother was hiding under his crib when he was shot.
Walke testified during his trial that she encouraged Smith to kill his family so they could be together and was on FaceTime when the murders happened.
Smith’s defense attorney John Sullivan said Smith was “trapped in his household from a combination of his family’s rules and COVID shutting down the schools,” according to Metro News.
Victim Daniel Long’s family spoke during Smith’s sentencing and said they adopted him when he was 14 months old, as reported by WSAZ.
“As the numbness took over my body I tried to comprehend how someone could have so much hatred to eliminate four people including his own flesh and blood in such a violent way and cowardly way, especially the three-year-old Jameson who loved Gavin unconditionally,” said his mother Susan Long,
Smith apologized during his sentencing, saying: “I do regret this and if I could I would take it back because it is one of my deepest regrets.”