Accused Farmville killer appears in court

By Tara Morgan - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) - An October trial date could be set for an aspiring California Horrorcore rapper accused of killing four people in Farmville. Richard Sam McCroskey appeared in court Tuesday for the first time in nine months.

McCroskey smirked at the cameras as he was led into the Prince Edward court building. He said very little during the short hearing. McCroskey's attorney says his client still feels remorse but is extremely nervous as the capital murder case moves forward.

His ankles shackled and dressed in an orange jumpsuit, McCroskey glanced at our camera with a smirk on his face.

"He's extremely nervous about this. He's held in isolation and this isn't something he's real proud about, and so he comes in, he's 21, he's not used to being in public at all. I think he smiles when he's not's just a nervous smile," said McCroskey's  attorney Cary Bowen.

Authorities arrested McCroskey last September 19 at Richmond International Airport one day after police found the bludgeoned bodies of Pastor Mark Niederbrock, his estranged wife Longwood Professor Debra Kelley, their daughter Emma and Emma's friend from West Virginia, Melanie Wells. A search warrant revealed police recovered a stained ball-peen hammer and wood splitting maul from Kelley's home.

Nine months later, attorneys agreed on a September court date to argue motions in the capital murder case. An October trial date could be set then.

This as McCroskey's defense team waits for DNA results and a completed mental evaluation. Cary Bowen expects to file a motion for more psychiatric testing. He says he won't know until jury selection whether to push for a change of venue.

"We don't want to taint the jury pool here. By and large it's better to have jurors who are at home at night, who are paying good attention to it," said Bowen.

Although the commonwealth's attorney hasn't said whether he'll seek the death penalty, Bowen says his client is realizing the gravity of the situation.

"He's got mixed feelings about the whole thing. He's in limbo. He's probably to some degree ready to get things going and come to grips with it," said Bowen.

Attorneys have an August 16 deadline to file motions in the case. They'll return to court on September 20.

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