Castro Valley Man Charged in Quadruple Homicide

Monday, Sep 21, 2009  |  Updated 10:00 AM PDT
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Castro Valley Man Charged in Quadruple Homicide

MySpace

Richard Alden Samuel McCroskey III

A Castro Valley man accused of slaughtering four people in central Virginia made his first court appearance back east just hours after Alameda County sheriff's searched his home here in the Bay Area.

Richard Alden Samuel McCroskey was ordered to remain in jail after appearing by video conference in Prince Edward County court.

The 20-year-old McCroskey raps under the name Syko Sam in the horrorcore genre, which sets violent lyrics to hip-hop beats.

McCroskey is charged with murder in the death of Mark Niederbrock, a pastor at a Presbyterian church in central Virginia. Niederbrock was one of four people found dead Friday at the home in Farmville, about 50 miles west of Richmond.  Niederbrock's daughter Emma had some kind of relationship with McCroskey.  She and her friend Melanie Wells are also said to be among the bodies found in the home.

On McCroskey's MySpace page, someone who goes by Ragdoll, which friends identified as Emma Niederbrock, wrote several messages to McCroskey. In a post dated Sept. 7, Niederbrock says she is excited for McCroskey's visit to her house. "The next time you check your myspace, YOULL BE AT MY HOUSE!" the post reads.  A friend said McCroskey, Emma and her friend were brought together by horrorcore music.

Back here in the Bay Area, investigators were seen leaving McCroskey's home with more than a dozen paper bags and a computer early Monday morning.  They said they arrived at the house at 1 a.m. and were there for several hours executing a search warrant for their Virginia counterparts.

McCroskey's father was not happy when news crews arrived at the home.  He refused to speak on camera, but told a KTVU reporter that he wanted to remind people that his son was "innocent until proven guilty."

Alameda County Sheriff's spokesman J.D. Nelson said McCroskey does not have a criminal history in the county.  Nelson said deputies had been to the home "a couple of times" on minor incidents. 

He was arrested Saturday after he was found sleeping in the baggage claim area of the Richmond, Virginia airport.  He was about to fly back to the Bay Area.

On MySpace "Syko Sam" was featured rapping to songs about brutally murdering people -- then watching them die.

"You're not the first, just to let you know. I've killed many people and I kill them real slow. It's the best feeling, watching their last breath. Stabbing and stabbing till there's nothing left," McCroskey raps in "My Dark Side," one of the tracks on his page.

Other tracks recorded by "Syko Sam" on McCroskey's page include "Sick in the Brain," "I Hate This World," and "Up in Flames."

He's also shown on his personal Web site laughing at the grave site of a Marine, then rapping about how he "defiled" the soldier's resting place.

Friends of McCroskey's said that his involvement in the "horrorcore" genre didn't mean he committed the crimes.

"You would never, ever imagine that kid even being a suspect," friend Andres Shrim, another horrorcore rapper, said about McCroskey.

"If he is found to be guilty, I would be 100 percent shocked," Shrim said.

"People get the impression we're these twisted, sick individuals and we don't have hearts and we just want to talk about murder and the devil," Shrim said of rappers like himself and McCroskey. "But we just want to express that other side of life."

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