BERKELEY SPRINGS, W. Va. (WDVM) — More than two years after the murder of 15-year-old Riley Crossman, the man responsible for her death was sentenced on Thursday in Morgan County Court.
It was an emotional day in Morgan County but Andy McCauley sat emotionless in court while he received two life sentences: one for first-degree murder with no mercy and the second for child abuse resulting in a death for the murder of 15-year-old Riley Crossman. McCauley was also charged with concealment of a body that carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Daniel James, the Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney, told WDVM as he was leaving the courtroom that while he was satisfied the jury found McCauley guilty, in his opinion, two life sentences is not enough.
“What I think is that from the legal standpoint of justice was served, but I’ve got a different idea of what justice should be,” James said.
McCauley declined to make any comment during the sentencing and showed no reaction while Chantel Oakley, Riley’s mother, described her daughter to the court as the most amazing and kind person, saying that McCauley threw her away like a piece of trash. She continued that she will never see her daughter graduate, walk down the aisle, hold her grandchild or make another memory with her ever again. Oakley also told the court that said there is “no punishment that works for her” where he is still alive.
Sheriff K. C. Bohrer echoed James’ and Oakley’s sentiments about the sentence and even advocated for the death penalty for McCauley, saying life in prison without the chance of parole was not enough.
“Justice was served as far as we possibly can do it in our legal system. I wish we had the death penalty. This person deserves to die for the heinous acts that he did.”Sheriff K.C. Bohrer
James also became emotional after the sentencing, saying that he and his assistant prosecutor, Courtney Moore, both knew Crossman and hopes that he never has to serve as the prosecutor on another case like this.
“This is a tragedy that I hope that I never have to deal with, again, from a prosecutorial standpoint. But again, we’re satisfied with the jury’s words, we’re satisfied with the judge’s sentence today,” James said.
“Mr. McCauley can go to jail and as far as I’m concerned, they can throw away the key and forget about him.”Morgan County Prosecutor Daniel James
On May 8th of 2019, 15-year-old Riley Crossman was reported missing. Community members in Morgan County turned out en masse trying to find this young girl, searching for days in an attempt to reunite her with her family. Unfortunately, that never happened. Riley’s body was found dumped on a remote hillside along with construction debris. That construction debris eventually lead investigators to Andy McCauley.
During the sentencing, Prosecutor James pointed out that McCauley knew exactly where Riley’s body was while the community searched for her but never said a thing. Oakley also stated during her testimony that McCauley is the only person who knows what happened to her and why. She went on to highlight McCauley’s silence during the search for her daughter’s body and throughout the trial, saying that McCauley says nothing while he watches the grief, misery, and broken hearts left behind by his actions. During his ex-girlfriend’s entire testimony, McCauley still showed no emotion.
Sheriff Bohrer became emotional when recounting the call he received two years ago. He explained that over his 43 years in law enforcement, he was a homicide investigator and has covered a number of cases involving children, but this particular case made him very emotional. He was choked up when he explained that the case made him think of his own daughter who was a student at West Virginia University at the time of Riley’s disappearance.
“This young girl became all of our daughters. She became a daughter to all of us in some fashion. I’m going to get emotional too,” Sheriff Bohrer explained. “Two and a half years ago I got a call that as a sheriff or as a police officer that you never want to get: a child’s missing.”
Sheriff Bohrer went on to explain that while Riley will never be able to be reunited with her family, the sentencing serves as a form of closure to her and her loved ones.
“It breaks your heart it breaks the community’s heart. If there’s any kind of closure, the court gave it today. It’s not enough,” Sheriff Bohrer said, holding back tears. “But it’s the best that we can possibly do and try to begin the healing process for her family for the community for everyone involved with this case.”
While McCauley’s defense attorney declined to comment on the trial, McCauley was granted an extension to file an appeal within the next 90 days.
The presiding judge on the case, circuit judge Debra McLaughlin, dismissed the defense’s request to have McCauley’s two life sentences concurrently, meaning they will be served at the same time, but those sentences will be served one after another.