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Warrant describes how eight Appomattox County victims were found

January 19, 2010
  • An eighth person, the man found lying in the middle of Snapps Mill Road, was transported to Lynchburg General Hospital where he later died.
An eighth person, the man found lying in the middle of Snapps Mill Road, was transported to Lynchburg General Hospital where he later died.

UPDATED: 12:30 p.m. Friday

APPOMATTOX, Va. (AP) -- A newly released search warrant shows a deputy who responded to a rural Virginia homestead where eight people were slain found two bodies on the porch and another next to a car in a driveway.

According to the warrant released Friday, a fourth victim was found still alive on a nearby road with a gunshot wound to the torso. He later died at a hospital. Police later found the bodies of three other people inside the house in Appomattox County. The eighth body was found outside but it's not mentioned in the warrant.

Police say Christopher Speight killed his sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephew and four other people early Tuesday.

Speight is charged with one count of murder. He made a brief appearance Friday morning in Appomattox County Circuit Court and declined a court-appointed attorney.

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Law enforcement continue to investigate the murders that occurred on Tuesday in Appomattox County.  State police spent Wednesday canvassing the residence and grounds for evidence. 

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Here's what law enforcement found:

  • Provisions were found that included food, water and sleeping bags
  • Night-vision equipment
  • Ballistic body armor
  • Large amounts of ammunition
  • Large number of weapons, including pistols and long guns
  • Several improvised explosive devices - found inside and outside the home

Speight shared the home with four of the victims and was acquainted with the other four.  He's being held at the Blue Ridge Regional jail in Lynchburg without bond and has been charged with one count of first-degree murder.  Additional charges are pending. 

Here is the full news release:

APPOMATTOX, Va. – The Appomattox County Sheriff's Department continues to work with various local, state and federal agencies as part of its ongoing investigation into the murders that occurred on Tuesday, Jan. 19. State Police forensic technicians spent Wednesday, Jan. 21, finishing up their work of canvassing the residence and grounds for evidence related to the criminal investigation.

At the current time the investigation has revealed that in areas outside of the home, provisions were found that included food, water, and sleeping bags. Inside the home, night-vision equipment and ballistic body armor were found. These all belonged to Christopher B. Speight*.

Also found within and outside the residence were large amounts of ammunition and a large number of weapons, including pistols and long guns. Several improvised explosive devices have been found both inside and outside the home, as well. These devices have been rendered safe by Virginia State Police Bomb Disposal Unit.

As of Wednesday afternoon, bodies of the victims have been removed from the crime scene and transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office for positive forensic identification, examination and determination of cause of death. Speight shared the residence with four of the victims and was acquainted with the other four.

Speight, 39, is being held at the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Lynchburg without bond and has been charged with one count of first degree murder. Additional charges are pending.

The victims' families are requesting that the media please respect their privacy during this time of grief by not contacting them by phone, online, or by going to their residences.

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State police are still not commenting on what caused Christopher Speight to possibly kill eight people. Many have wondered if a disagreement over Speight's house may have set him off.

Some who are close to the situation say Speight and his sister, Lauralee Sipe, were fighting over the house on Snapps Mill Road that Speight was living in. 

Speight's grandparents left the house to him in a trust.  Lauralee Sipe was the trustee, or legal go between person for that trust.  It was her job to make sure Speight got the house when his grandparents died.

Sipe's attorney, Henry Devening, says Lauralee came to his office last week and signed over the deed to the house for her brother.

Devening wonders if Speight knew about the transaction.  Because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Devening thinks there might have been a delay in getting paperwork filed to show Speight that he was the rightful owner of the house.

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APPOMATTOX, Va. (AP) -- An attorney says the man suspected of killing eight people at a home in Virginia had a history of mental problems.

Lynchburg attorney Henry Devening handled legal matters for the family of suspected shooter Christopher Speight.

The owner of a market where Speight worked as a security guard says Speight was worried about his sister and brother-in-law kicking him out of the house where they all lived. The sister and brother-in-law were among the shooting victims.

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