Live: Lincoln Co. officials discuss two teens arrested in connection to alleged murder plot

College football player allegedly killed 16-year-old cheerleader after she ended their relationship

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KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. – A college football player is accused of shooting and killing a 16-year-old after she ended their relationship.

Emma Walker, a high school cheerleader, was found shot to death inside her bedroom on Nov. 21st.

Walker’s ex-boyfriend, 18-year-old William Riley Gaul, was arrested on Nov. 22nd and charged in connection to the murder.

Police in Knox County, Tenn. say Gaul fired a gun into Emma Walker’s bedroom while she was asleep.

Authorities believe the murder was premeditated, WVLT reports.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook that detectives had Gaul under surveillance because they believe he was preparing to destroy evidence related to the murder.

Walker’s aunt told the Knoxville News Sentinel that Walker had recently ended her relationship with Gaul, which upset him.

“She had chosen to move on,” Jenny Weldon, Walker’s aunt, said. “He refused to accept it. He chose not to accept her wishes.”

Gaul was a freshman wide receiver at Maryville College.

Following Walker’s death, Gaul posted a series of tweets about the victim.

Gaul’s mother believes her son is innocent.

“Riley did not do this. He would not hurt her because he loved Emma dearly. He is not a monster,” she told WATE.

She said that despite the breakup, Gaul and Walker remained close.

She told WATE that Gaul had helped Walker with a paper for school on Sunday, one day before she was found dead.

Gaul is currently being held on a $750,000 bond.