Her ex boyfriend William Riley Gaul, now 19, has been found guilty of first-degree murder which carries a minimum sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole for 51 years.
Gaul was a promising footballer at Tennessee’s Maryville College and Emma his high-school sweetheart however when she broke up with him, he reportedly became obsessed with her to the point where she asked her parents to activate their home security system.
Police arrested Gaul the day after the fatal shooting and in January 2017 was indicted on seven criminal counts including first-degree murder and especially aggravated stalking, reports People.
Prosecutors argued that the killing was premeditated however Gaul’s defence team argued that he did not realise the bullets would go through the wall and that he only intended to scare Walker in a misguided attempt to be her “hero” and win her back.
In the days before the shooting Gaul had allegedly staged his own kidnapping to win Walker’s sympathy and hours before the shooting, his college roomate Walker Stanley testified that Gaul had asked him if he knew how to remove fingerprints from a gun, reports the News Sentinel.
During questioning, Gaul reportedly told investigators, “I hope to God I am not a suspect,” he said, according to the News Sentinel. “I would hurt myself before I’d hurt her, and that’s what I’ve done. … I don’t know anyone who would want to hurt that girl.”
The night of the shooting Gaul returned to his dorm room around 4:45am.
“He said he’d been out,” his roommate Stanley testified. “That was it. And then he asked if I could help him get up for his 8 a.m. [class].”
After Walker's body was discovered , Gaul sent Stanley a Snapchat asking him not to talk to police, the roommate testified.
After the shooting Gaul also asked other friends to help him dispose of a gun he said he stole from his grandfather. The friends secretly videotaped the conversation for police.
“I’m trusting you guys with my life because this is 70 years in jail if I’m convicted of something I didn’t do,” Gaul said in the video, according to Knox News.
On the day of his arrest, Gaul who was being monitored by police, went to dispose of the gun in Tennessee River before they intercepted and arrested him.
"He was possessive, manipulative, controlling," said Kevin Allen, a Knox County assistant district attorney general during the trial. "He was toxic to her. This was no accident. This is about criminal intent to kill."
Jurors came to the guilty verdict without ever hearing from Gaul himself, who chose not to testify. He was immediately given a mandatory sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole for 51 years.