Friends, family honor life of murdered teen

By Laura Geller - bio | email

LYNCHBURG, VA (WWBT) - Eight lives, tragically cut short.

Among the victims shot to death are three teenagers and a four-year-old boy.

As friends and family mourned Morgan Dobyns Sunday, this quiet part of the state is still reeling from a massacre they're struggling to understand.

It's an area of Virginia where almost everybody knows everybody.

Family ties and friendship are deep-rooted, making it even harder to say goodbye.

As the rain fell, dozens of vehicles made their way to the Heritage Funeral home where the service lasted about an hour.

Teenagers forced to say farewell to a friend who left them far too early.

Dobyns' family asked that no media be allowed on the premises of the funeral home.

Several police officers were on hand to make sure everything ran as smoothly as possible.

Less than a mile up the road, the massacre is still fresh in the mind of Charley's owner Rob Pearson.

"You think it couldn't' happen here, not to somebody I knew or somebody like that but it can and it does happen and it did," said Pearson. "It definitely makes you think."

Pearson hired suspected killer Christopher Speight as a busboy and barback about fifteen years ago.

"It's just kind of surreal, that's all I can say," he said. "To see his picture in the paper that morning and to look at it and go, not Chris."

Pearson remembers Speight as polite and fascinated with guns.

Nothing ever made him think Speight was capable of the kind of violence he's accused of.

"He was quiet and withdrawn but a lot of people are quiet. People go from quiet, obviously something happened mental-wise, something snapped," he said.

The tragedy is something Pearson says those who value the country calm won't soon understand, and will never forget.

"It's just really hard to believe that somebody would be capable of doing something like that to innocent people," Pearson said.

As of now, Speight is only charged in one of the killings but more murder charges are expected as the investigation continues.

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