An aspiring rapper from Castro Valley who embraced horror-themed lyrics has pleaded guilty to the brutal killings of four people in central Virginia.
Richard "Sam" McCroskey was sentenced to life in prison Monday as part of his plea agreement.
The defendant from showed little emotion during the hearing in Prince Edward County Circuit Court. It was a contrast to his hearing in June, when he smiled at reporters outside the courthouse then again inside the courtroom. His lawyer later called it a nervous smile.
McCroskey pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend, 16-year-old Emma Niederbrock; her parents, Presbyterian minister Mark Niederbrock and Longwood University professor Debra Kelley; and Emma's 18-year-old friend, Melanie Wells of Inwood, W.Va.
A prosecutor revealed that the women were bludgeoned with a wood-splitting tool while they slept on Sept. 18, 2009. Mark Niederbrock was killed with the tool when he came to check on them.
The motive for the killings remains a mystery. McCrosky was in Virginia to visit his girlfriend, who was also a fan of the bizarre genre of rap that centers around horror-themed lyrics and graphic details. Emma Niederbrock's parents drove her, Wells and McCroskey to a horrorcore music festival in Michigan. Police found the bodies after Wells' parents became worried that she didn't come home.