crimesider

Prosecutor: Son plotted Kentucky family killings

Ryan Champion during an interview with CBS affiliate WTVF in which he claimed Vito Riservato was responsible for murdering Champions' parents and sister at their home in Cadiz, Ky.

CBS affiliate WTVF

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A Kentucky man accused in the slayings of his parents and sister who then told a tale of "turning the tables" on the killer actually was in cahoots with the person and is charged with murdering him, authorities say.

Ryan Champion, 36, was indicted in Trigg County Wednesday on the murder count, three counts of complicity to commit murder and complicity to commit kidnapping.

Along with Ryan Champion's family members, the body of 22-year-old Vito Riservato was found last month at the family's home in Cadiz, which is about 80 miles northwest of Nashville, Tenn., in western Kentucky. All four died of gunshot wounds.

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Emily Champion, left, and her parents, Joy and Lindsey Boyd Champion
CBS affiliate WTVF

Commonwealth's Attorney G.L. Ovey said authorities believe Champion enlisted Riservato as a hitman, then killed him.

Ovey, the top prosecutor in Trigg County, said it started out as a murder-for-hire scheme, but "it didn't end up that way."

"In a murder for hire, he would've got paid, but ... he was murdered," Ovey said. Ovey said he will seek the death penalty for Champion.

Ovey would not speculate on what Ryan Champion's motives were in the deaths of his parents, Lindsey and Joy Champion and his 31-year-old sister, Emily Champion, who was a veterinarian working in Louisiana. Joy Champion taught for 30 years at schools in Trigg County.

Riservato was reported to be the lone perpetrator in the slayings until Champion was arrested Oct. 31. Before that, Champion appeared on CBS affiliate WTVF saying Riservato was responsible for the attack. He told the station Riservato, who he described as "a new person to all of us," tied him and his sister up and held them at gunpoint. Champion said his parents returned home during the attack, and that he was the sole survivor.

He posted updates on Facebook after the slayings, saying he had survived and was recuperating. Champion later posted that he was in need of money and looking for odd jobs to pay for bills and gas after the tragedy.

Emily Champion was in Cadiz for a short visit, and the kidnapping charge against Ryan Champion pertains to her. Ovey said she was restrained by duct tape during the attack.

Ann Plotkin, a long-time friend of Champion who says she introduced him to Riservato in the weeks before the fatal shootings, told 48 Hours' Crimesider last week that she believes Champion is innocent.

"Anybody who knows Ryan, any of his close friends, knows he's not capable of doing this," Plotkin said.

Champion is due back in court for an arraignment on Dec. 10. He is being held in the Christian County Jail on a $5 million bond.