APPOMATTOX, VA (WWBT) - The main suspect in a brutal shooting spree in Appomattox County may have already confessed to the killings.
A search warrant filed in Lynchburg County court reveals that Christopher Speight confessed to being the person responsible for the eight deaths on January 20. He's only been charged with one murder. If his confession is considered credible it could have a big impact on how prosecutors approach the case and if they seek the death penalty.
For the people of Appomattox, the wounds created by the events on January 20, won't begin to heal until justice is served. Justice that could come at a much easier pace, if the prosecutions top suspect has already admitted to the crime. But there is a lot a judge and jury would still need to learn.
"An honest acknowledgement of guilt, not a coercion or mental illness, than it will be a powerful factor in the commonwealth's case," said Steven Benjamin, Criminal Defense Attorney.
A true confession, would make convicting Speight a much easier job. But it would also become a strong tool if the commonwealth's attorney decides that he hopes to seek the death penalty.
"Acknowledgements of guilt, expressions of remorse, the possible presence of mental illness these are all factors for a prosecutor to consider if a sentence of death is necessary and appropriate," Benjamin said.
But at this point all we know is what a sheriff's deputy reported in a search warrant. The full details won't emerge until much later in the case. If prosecutors determine that they will indeed seek the death penalty, the final decision will be in the hands of the jury and that won't come until after a conviction.