Melissa Justice Napier, 40, 4812 Upper Possum Creek Road
GATE CITY — A Yuma woman accused of murdering her husband and leaving his dead body in their home for nearly a month before it was finally discovered made her first appearance Monday in a Scott County courtroom.
Melissa Justice Napier, 40, 4812 Upper Possum Creek Road, was arraigned in Scott County General District Court on charges of first-degree murder and defiling a human body that stem from the death of her husband, Billy Ray Napier, 74, same address.
Billy Napier’s body was discovered Thursday in the bedroom of the couple’s Upper Possum Creek home. Authorities said Napier died of a gunshot wound to the head that reportedly occurred March 20.
Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said investigators believe money could have played a role in the killing.
“There are a number of things we are looking into,” McClung said. “There’s a monetary aspect and some different things like spousal arguments. But it does appear there were issues to do with money.”
McClung said no domestic violence related calls had been made from the couple’s home during their 17-year marriage.
McClung said authorities opened their investigation into Billy Napier’s whereabouts after receiving a missing persons complaint.
“There were family members that hadn’t heard from Mr. Napier for a long period of time,” said McClung. “Those family members contacted us, and based on those concerns we were able to gain a search warrant for the house, and that’s where we found his body.”
McClung added: “It became evident when we went to serve the search warrant that something was amiss.”
Investigators said they discovered a “grim” scene after they entered the residence and made their way to the bedroom where Billy Napier’s remains were.
After examining the body, McClung said investigators determined that Billy Napier had been shot in the back of the head.
“The medical examiner and state police went and found a bullet lodged in the victim’s head,” McClung said.
Investigators also found several holes dug in the yard behind the Napiers’ residence and gasoline and hay bales located in the home’s kitchen.
Melissa Napier turned herself in to Virginia State Police Thursday evening at the Scott County Sheriff’s Office.
The house Napier’s body was discovered in was one of two residences located on the property. Authorities said Melissa Napier had been living in the second house on the property since the murder took place last month.
Melissa Napier is scheduled to appear in Scott County General District Court Wednesday for a bond hearing. She is being represented by Duffield-based attorney Lisa McConnell.
Melissa Napier is currently being held in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail without bond.