Richard McCroskey was a classic loser from Castro Valley, California. The 20-year-old was a high school drop out who largely secluded himself to his room, where his only friends were on the internet. He went by the name “Syko Sam,” fancying himself as a horrorcore rapper…
It’s a genre big on mutilation and mayhem, and it allowed him to meet a fellow fan, 16-year-old Emma Niederbrock, over the internet.
The two became engaged in an online romance. In September of last year, McCroskey flew to Emma’s home in Farmville, Virginia. Along with her friend Melanie Wells and her mother Debra Kelley, a professor of criminal just at Longview University, they traveled to Michigan to see a horrorcore festival.
But like most online romances, this would end poorly. What began with Emma’s professions of love prior to McCroskey’s arrival quickly devolved to something a whole lot less. It seems Emma wasn’t as impressed by the live version of McCroskey as she was by the online model.
They got into an argument at the show. By the time they returned to Virginia, Emma was no longer gushing over her California suitor. McCroskey was pissed. He was expecting Emma to be his one and only woman.
So on September 15 at 3 a.m., he went outside to cool off. That’s where he found a wood-splitting maul, which is basically a hammer the size of an ax.
He went back into the house and and beat Melanie Wells in the head as she lay sleeping on a couch. Then he went upstairs to kill Debra Kelley in her study. He finally finished off the trio by crushing Emma’s skull as she slept in her bedroom.
He would hang around the home for another two days until Emma’s father, Presbyterian pastor Mark Niederbrock, came by for a visit. He was estranged from Kelley. When he arrived at the door, McCroskey ambushed him, beating him to death with the maul as well.
McCroskey was later arrested at the Richmond airport as he waited to catch a flight back home.
He was expected to fight the murder charges. But this week he instead pleaded guilty the the murders, trading his plea for a life sentence. Fittingly, none of his relatives bothered to show for the sentencing.
See our original, more detailed story here: Four Found Dead at Longwood University Professor’s Home; Horrorcore Rapper Richard McCroskey Arrested.