"Syko Sam" Finds Reason to Smile

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Horrorcore rapper accused of killing 4

    The Castro Valley man who is accused of brutally killing four people in Virginia last fall was back in court Tuesday.

    Richard "Sam" McCrowskey, 21, is an aspiring rapper in the little-known horrorcore genre.  The people he's accused of killing are his 16-year old girlfriend, her parents and her friend.
     
    McCroskey wore an orange jail jumpsuit and had his feet shackled during the hearing.  He smiled as reporters shouted questions outside the courthouse and again inside as he approached his seat. His lawyer later called it a nervous smile.

    McCroskey's court-appointed lawyer Cary Bowen said Tuesday that his client is feeling remorse about their deaths.  "Sleep doesn't come easy," Bowen said.

    The motive for the killings remains unclear.  McCroskey flew to Virginia to visit Emma Neiderbrock and her parents drove them and her friend Melanie Wells to a horrorcore music festival in Michigan Sept. 12. Police found all of their bodies six days later after Wells' parents became worried that she didn't return home.

    McCroskey has remained in jail in isolation since he was apprehended at the Richmond, Virginia airport Sept. 19.  He was waiting for a flight back to the Bay Area at a time.

    Last fall McCroskey's sister, Sarah, described him as a kind person who never fought back when people picked on him.

    "He was extremely passive," Sara said, "so just hearing that my brother is the main suspect just really blows my mind."

    McCroskey's father played guitar in a band called S&M.  Sarah McCroskey says the family was not a "lovey-dovey ... 'Leave It To Beaver' kind of family."  She said she thought something might be wrong after she heard a voice mail her brother left at the family's house last Thursday that ended with "I love you guys."

    McCroskey posted video of his Castro Valley bedroom just three weeks before the killings.  His walls were plastered with posters that celebrate bloody, gory imagery of music centered on killing, suicide and violence.  Family members said he spent most of his time in his room on his computer.

    McCroskey was known as "Syko Sam" to the Web world because of what is being described as an obsession with notorious serial killer "Son of Sam." His MySpace page features his raps about killing, maiming and mutilating people.  On his YouTube channel, McCroskey goes under the name "Lil Demon Dog."  That is another reference to serial killer David Berkowitz.

    Commonwealth's Attorney James Ennis refused to comment Tuesday whether he is going to seek the death penalty in this case.

    McCroskey's attorneys are trying to get the trial moved from Farmville, a small college town about 50 miles southwest of Richmond.