KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – The teen accused of killing four of his family members had a pre-trial hearing this morning where prosecutors called two Kanawha County Detectives to the stand. Gavin Smith is being charged with the murders of his mother, stepfather, and two brothers in Elkview in December of 2020.
Prosecutors called Detective Robert Alford and Detective Adam Crawford, both with the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office to the stand, who detained Smith the day they found the bodies.
By answering questions from the prosecution, the detectives say the same day they found the bodies they found Smith at his then-girlfriend’s residence hiding behind a dresser. That’s when he was detained and read his Miranda rights. Both say he signed a form stating he was read his rights and understood them.
The detectives say he was brought to their headquarters for questioning and said they had video and audio footage of their conversations both from the car ride to the headquarters and in the interview room. Detective Alford says that’s when Smith admitted to killing his family members and was placed under arrest.
“And at that time did you begin a formal statement of the defendant?” asked the prosecuting attorney. “Yes,” answered Alford. The prosecuting attorney then asked, “And in the statement did he admit to shooting four members of his family?” “He did,” answered Alford.
Smith’s defense argued that the teen was unaware answering questions would lead to an arrest and that detectives never asked Smith if he wanted to consult with any other family members before being detained.
Smith’s trial is set to begin on December 5. His defense did bring up the concern of jury selection and requested a questionnaire be sent to potential jurors. He cited not because of the media attention, but because of the ‘severity of the case.’ They have to have that ready for the Clerk’s Office by November 14. Smith is pleading not guilty to his charges.