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Scott teen's first-degree murder case bound over to grand jury

Wes Bunch • Aug 1, 2013 at 6:00 PM

GATE CITY — A Scott County teen who allegedly assisted her mother with her father’s murder will have her case taken before a grand jury following an appearance this week in Scott County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Savannah Napier is charged with one count of first-degree murder for her alleged role in the March 2012 shooting of her father, Billy Ray Napier, 74. During her preliminary hearing Tuesday, the charge was bound over to the grand jury by Scott County Juvenile Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton.

If indicted, Napier could be tried as an adult in Scott County Circuit Court despite the fact she was 14 when the alleged murder occurred.

“The next stop for this case is Circuit Court,” Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said. “We’ll present it to the grand jury and really, at this point, that is all that I can say.”

The next Scott County grand jury is scheduled to convene Aug. 5.

Savannah Napier currently is being held without bond at the Highlands Juvenile Detention Facility in Bristol, Va.

The girl’s mother — Melissa Justice Napier, 42, 4812 Possum Creek Road, Gate City — is also charged with first-degree murder, defiling a dead body, concealing a dead body and using a firearm in commission of a felony in connection with her husband’s death.

A nine-day-long jury trial for Melissa Napier is set for Sept. 3.

According to court documents from Melissa Napier’s case, authorities allege the mother told her daughter on the day of the murder to enter the couple’s bedroom and give her father a hug.

While the girl was hugging her father, VSP agents testified that Melissa Napier came up behind him with a .22-caliber rifle and shot him in the back of the head.

Prosecutors went on to accuse Melissa Napier of giving concerned family members differing accounts of how and where Billy Ray Napier died.

Melissa Napier has been in custody since turning herself in to authorities on April 13, 2012, the day after her husband’s body was discovered following a missing person complaint filed by his son.

During a search of the couple’s property, investigators allegedly found a rented backhoe and several holes that had been dug behind the house in which the body was found. Gasoline and hay bales reportedly also were found in the kitchen of the residence.

At the time, authorities said Billy Ray Napier’s partially decomposed body had been in the house for about three weeks before it was located.

Savannah Napier was indicted in August 2012 and has been in custody since her extradition from North Carolina a month later. During an April 2013 court appearance, she was ruled competent to stand trial.

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