Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Gate City, VA: Scott woman faces additional charges in husband's death

GATE CITY — A Southwest Virginia woman was indicted by a Scott County grand jury Tuesday on multiple felony counts for allegedly shooting her husband earlier this year and leaving his dead body in their home for several weeks.

Melissa Justice Napier, 40, Possum Creek Road, was indicted on four charges — first-degree murder, concealment of a dead body, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and attempting to defile a dead body — that stem from the March killing of Billy Ray Napier, 74.

Melissa Napier had previously been arraigned on charges of first-degree murder and defiling a human body.

Scott County Commonwealth's Attorney Marcus McClung said his office decided to bring additional charges before the grand jury as the result of the ongoing investigation of the case.

"Oftentimes, if you feel that someone is a threat to society, you want to bring charges immediately. And you're dealing with everything that's going on -- the investigation is still ongoing -- so it's not unusual after you've gathered all the evidence for the charges to increase," McClung said. "So after another evaluation of the case, we felt these charges were warranted, so we brought them.

"We were hopeful the true bill would be returned, and it was, so now we're just ready to get on with the case."

McClung said Melissa Napier would have a hearing date scheduled in Scott County Circuit Court in the coming days.

Melissa Napier's 14-year-old daughter, whose name has not been released by authorities, has also been charged with first-degree murder stemming from her father's death. Scott County prosecutors said last week they will try the girl as an adult. A preliminary hearing for the juvenile is set for Nov. 19.

Melissa Napier is being held without bond at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield, while her daughter is in custody at the Highlands Juvenile Correctional Facility in Bristol, Va.

The indictment against Melissa Napier came after her charges were bounded over to the grand jury during an appearance last month in Scott County General District Court.

Prosecutors presented evidence at that hearing alleging that Billy Ray Napier was shot in the head on March 20 in the bedroom of the couple's Possum Creek Road home. His remains were discovered by authorities nearly three weeks later.

Prosecutors also accused Melissa Napier of telling family members her husband had been killed in an automobile accident that occurred in Michigan.

Melissa Napier has been in custody since turning herself in to authorities on April 13.

Her husband's body was discovered the day before following a missing person complaint that was filed by a concerned relative.

Authorities searched the couple's home and found Billy Ray Napier's decomposing body lying on a bed in the residence.

An autopsy determined he died from gunshot wounds to the back of the head.

Authorities also found several holes dug in the back yard, as well as hay bales and gasoline in the kitchen of the home, while conducting their search.

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