A man who witnessed the murder of his family and who claimed to have “turned the tables” on the killer by shooting him, is being tried for hiring and then murdering the hit-man.
Ryan Champion, 36, has been accused of the murder of Vito Riservato, the man he shot and killed at his family’s home near Nashville, Tennessee.
Riservato had allegedly shot Champion’s mother, Joy, father, Lindsey, and 31-year-old sister, Emily, before Champion “turned the tables” on the shooter and allegedly killed Riservito himself.
Authorities allege that Champion had hired Riservito to kill his family, and then murdered the hit-man.
Champion has also been accused of three counts of complicity to commit murder and one count of complicity to commit kidnapping, as his sister was reported as having been restrained by duct tape during the killing.
Commonwealth’s Attorney G. L. Ovey, the prosecutor on the case, said the incident had started out as a murder-for-hire scheme, but that “it didn’t end up that way”.
“In a murder for hire, [Riservato] would have got paid, but… he was murdered,” Ovey said.
Champion’s sister Emily was a veterinarian who had travelled home to visit her family.
Champion was arrested on 31 October on the murder charges. Before this, he had given TV and radio interviews claiming to have “turned the tables” on Riservato, whom he said had entered the family property and begun shooting.
Champion also said in interviews that he had only met Riservato once before the killings. He posted updates on Facebook after his family’s murder, saying that he had survived and that he was recuperating. Champion later posted that he was in need of money and looking for odd jobs to pay for bills and gas.
Champion is being held on a $5m (£3.2m) bond, and is due back in court in December for his arraignment. Ovey has said he is seeking the death penalty for Champion.
Additional reporting by Associated Press