by Trish Rudder
Andy J. McCauley, Jr., 43, was sentenced last week to life without the possibility of parole for murder in the first degree of local teenager Riley Crossman.
McCauley sat stoically in an orange jumpsuit in Morgan County Circuit Court last Thursday, November 4, while 23rd Circuit Judge Debra McLaughlin read his sentence.
On October 5, a Morgan County jury had returned a guilty verdict against McCauley on multiple charges following a seven-day trial.
“Count 1: for murder in the first degree, the sentence is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole,” Judge McLaughlin said.
For Count 2, which was Death of a child by custodian by child abuse, McCauley was sentenced to “not less than 15 years to life,” Judge McLaughlin said.
For Count 3, the crime of Concealment of a deceased human body, McCauley was sentenced to “not less than 1 to 5 years and a $5,000 fine,” McLaughlin said.
“I don’t know if we will ever get an answer to the question of why,” Judge McLaughlin said.
The sentences are to be served consecutively – one after the other – McLaughlin said, “because of the seriousness and heinousness of the crimes.”
She told McCauley he had a right to appeal the sentences within 30 days. He also has to register as a sex offender with the West Virginia State Police, McLaughlin said. That registry would only be necessary if McCauley is ever released from prison.
Before Judge McLaughlin read the sentence, Chantel Oakley, Crossman’s mother, stated that McCauley had taken her daughter from her. She said Crossman’s father “would never walk her down the aisle.”
Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel James said both Riley Crossman’s mother and Denise Deaver, the mother of McCauley’s two other children, testified during pretrial hearings that when McCauley “speedballs,” his sexual desires were heightened by the drug combination of heroin and cocaine. James said these two women who were close to McCauley came to the same conclusion.
Riley Crossman’s last phone messages to her boyfriend said “Andy’s in my room and I’m scared.”
“Andy does not care about anyone other than himself,” James said.
He said no evidence indicated that anyone other than McCauley was involved in the death of the 15-year-old.
“Not the children and not Chantel was involved,” he said.
“She will have to live with the rest of her life that she had Andy in her house,” he said of Oakley.
“We are happy with the outcome and hope that it provides some semblance of peace and justice for the family and everyone who loved Riley,” said Morgan County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Courtney Moore.
James said outside the courtroom, “I think justice was served but I have a different idea of what justice should be,” he said.
“We knew Riley. It’s a tragedy but we are satisfied. McCauley can go to jail and they can throw away the key as far as I’m concerned,” said James.
McCauley has been in jail since May 16, 2019, after the body of Crossman was found in a wooded area in Berkeley County eight days after she went missing.
During the murder trial, James told the jury that McCauley murdered Crossman, his girlfriend’s daughter, and concealed then disposed of her body to cover up his crime.
When McCauley was found guilty by the Morgan County jury on October 5, a separate verdict of no mercy was also returned by jurors. That means he is not eligible for parole for Crossman’s murder.
The murder trial was broadcast on Court TV and many followed the proceedings. “Justice for Riley” signs were held up by people in the town park across from the courthouse. When the guilty verdict came, many cars and trucks honked in support of the jury’s decision.