The man charged with killing eight people at his Appomattox home has been sentenced to five life terms in prison.
Christopher Speight pleaded guilty to nine charges Friday in Appomattox County Circuit Court. Speight also received an additional 18 years in prison on firearm charges, and has to pay $56,000 in restitution. He is not eligible for parole.
He pleaded guilty to a total of nine charges – three counts of capital murder, one count of attempted capital murder, and five related firearm charges. The attempted capital murder charge is from Speight shooting at a state police helicopter during the January 2010 incident.
In court, the judge asked Speight if he could read or write. Speight responded with “OK.” The judge then asked Speight if a newspaper was in front of him, could he read it. Speight responded by saying “Some of it.”
Speight was living with his sister and her family at the time of the shootings. The murder victims include Speight’s sister, her husband, and their two children, two neighbors, their teenage daughter, and a teenage boy. Speight, 42, was a former security guard. He confessed to the murders immediately after his arrest in January 2010.
According to proscutor Darrel Puckett’s summary of evidence, Speight first shot his sister, Lauralee Sipe, and her husband, Dwayne Sipe, while they sat in their living room on January 17, 2010. He shot one of them 10 times, and the other 11.
Speight then shot his 4-year-old nephew, Joshua Sipe, multiple times, and then shot him again at point-blank range because he wanted to end the child’s misery.
After his arrest Speight told police an Egyptian princess named “Jennifer” told him to murder the Sipes because they were conspiring with demons to overthrow the earth.
After killing the Sipes, Speight went to a tree house on the property and stayed there for three days.
On January 19, 2010, Lauralee Sipe’s daughter from another marriage, Morgan Dobyns, came home. She had been staying with Emily Quarles, and her mother, Karen. Speight shot Karen Quarles and Morgan Dobyns multiple times with an assault rifle as they walked to the door. Speight then shot Emily in the head. After his arrest Speight told investigators that “Jennifer” said the women were coming to help the Sipes and had to be killed.
Later that same day Jonathan Quarles and Bo Scruggs came to the house and were shot multiple times. Quarles ran to the end of the driveway where he collapsed and died. A driver passing by saw him and called 9-1-1. At that time, Speight began setting bombs around the property.
As police descended on the home, Speight said “Jennifer” told him the state police helicopter was bringing demons, so he fired at it.
The next morning Speight walked out of the woods with his hands up. He told police “I’m the one you’re looking for.”
Speight told officers he was considering attacking them but decided that there had been enough bloodshed. He also told police there were pipe bombs all around the property.