McKnight Sentenced in the Killing of Emily Murray '02

Vinton County Judge Jeffrey Simmons sentenced Gregory McKnight to death by lethal injection for the murder of Kenyon student Emily Murray. The sentence was delivered Friday, October 25, in the Vinton County Common Pleas Court in McArthur, Ohio.

McKnight received the maximum sentence on all of the charges brought against him. He received ten years in prison on the charge of kidnapping Murray, ten years on the charge of aggravated robbery (for taking Murray's car), and fifteen years to life for the murder of Gregory Julious. All of the sentences run consecutively.

McKnight was also sentenced to three years for using a gun in the aggravated murder of Murray and three years for using a gun in the kidnapping of Murray. These charges are concurrent, which means McKnight's prison term is equal to thirty-eight years to life.

A jury of eight women and four men recommended the death penalty for McKnight during a sentencing phase of the trial. Tom and Cynthia Murray, the parents of Emily, issued a statement before the sentencing stating that "Emily would regard it as a tragedy and an abomination if another human being were put to death in her name."

Murray disappeared on November 3, 2000. Her body was found on December 9 in a trailer owned by McKnight in rural Vinton County. During the ensuing investigation, Julious's remains were found elsewhere on McKnight's property. Murray was a twenty-year-old junior at the time of her murder. She was last seen about 3:00 a.m. as she left her waitressing job at the Pirates' Cove restaurant. McKnight, twenty-five, worked in the kitchen at the Pirates' Cove.

McKnight was found guilty of aggravated murder and kidnapping, and all of the other charges in question at the trial, on October 10. Kenyon officials attended the trial every day, with various administrators, including Acting President Ronald A. Sharp, taking turns to sit in on the proceedings, as a way of showing their concern for and expressing their solidarity with the Murrays, as well as with the current and former Kenyon students who were called as prosecution witnesses.