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Scott County teen indicted in father's murder

Wes Bunch • Aug 6, 2013 at 7:23 PM

GATE CITY — A 15-year-old Scott County girl will be tried as an adult after she was indicted on a first-degree murder charge Monday for her alleged role in her father’s slaying.

Savannah Ellen Napier, who was 14 at the time of the alleged killing, was indicted for her alleged role in the March 2012 shooting death of her 74-year-old father, Billy Ray Napier.

An arraignment hearing for the teen is expected to be scheduled in Scott County Circuit Court in the coming days.

Savannah Napier is currently being held at the Highlands Juvenile Detention Facility in Bristol, Va.

If convicted, she could face anywhere from 20 years to life in prison.

Savannah Napier’s case had been in Scott County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, but was bound over to the grand jury by Judge Jeffery Hamilton during a preliminary hearing last week.

Her mother, Melissa Justice Napier, 41, of Yuma, Va., is accused of planning the killing. She was indicted in 2012 on multiple felony charges — including first-degree murder and defiling a dead body.

Melissa Napier’s jury trial is scheduled to begin next month and could last up to nine days.

According to court documents, authorities allege Melissa Napier recruited her daughter to help carry out her husband’s murder.

A Virginia State Police investigator testified that the mother had her daughter go into the couple’s bedroom and give her father a hug while she 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, when 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 Upper Possum Creek 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.

Authorities said Billy Ray Napier’s partially decomposed body had been in the house for about three weeks when it was located.

Savannah Napier has been in custody since her extradition from North Carolina in September 2012. She was ruled competent to stand trial during an April 2013 court appearance.

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