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Convicted killer dies in jail, local murder trial discontinued

SoVaNow.com / March 24, 2021
Mecklenburg County Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Nash agreed Monday to dismiss the case against George William Knisley IV after Knisley died in jail last month awaiting trial for murder in the 2019 death of Amy Renee Fabian in South Hill.

Knisley, 42, died February 11 while incarcerated at Piedmont Regional Jail in Farmville. Nash said the death was “unnatural but not covid related.” He did not elaborate.

Knisley’s attorney, Kahlil Latif, appeared before Mecklenburg Circuit Judge S. Anderson Nelson at Monday’s hearing in Boydton to support the motion to dismiss the case and confirm Knisley’s death. He, too, did not elaborate on the cause of death.

Before he died, Latif said, Knisley had signed a plea agreement admitting guilt for the murder of his former girlfriend, Amy Renee Fabian, whose body was found in an abandoned vehicle near Route 138 in South Hill in May 2019.

Knisley had been the subject of a multi-state manhunt by police and the FBI after Fabian went missing and the dead body of her friend, Matthew T. Broyles, 29 of Powhatan, was found inside her Cumberland County home.

Knisley was arrested a day later after crashing a car he stole from a man in Raleigh, N.C.

The hunt for Knisley and Fabian began May 24, 2019 around 3:30 a.m. when Cumberland authorities received a 911 call about a homicide occurring in Fabian’s home. When they arrived at the scene, deputies found Broyles dead and Fabian missing.

Knisley had driven to Fabian’s house in a 2002 white Ford F-350 pickup that had been reported stolen in Maryland on May 23. Fabian’s remains and the stolen truck were found a week later, May 30, in a wooded area off State Route 138, less than a mile from U.S. 1 in South Hill.

Police had focused their search for Fabian and Knisley in the South Hill area after receiving a tip that a man matching Knisley’s description had stolen a Honda Civic from a woman in South Hill at gunpoint. The theft of the Honda occurred on the same day that Fabian went missing.

Knisley was arrested in Raleigh on Friday, May 24 after a police chase that ended when he crashed the stolen car he was driving. It would be another six days before police located Fabian’s body in the abandoned vehicle.

Knisley was extradited to Virginia where he faced first degree murder charges in Cumberland County in connection with Broyles’ death, as well as felony counts of armed burglary, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, first and second offense, and possession of a firearm by a nonviolent felon.

In Mecklenburg County Knisley was charged with first degree murder for the killing of Fabian and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, first and second offense, assault, abduction, and shooting in the commission of a felony.

Nash helped prosecute Knisley in October for the charges pending in Cumberland County. On Nov. 4, Knisley was sentenced to two life sentences plus 10 years after having been found guilty on all charges pending in Cumberland County.

His sentences were to run consecutively.

Knisley was also ordered to pay $6,290.10 in court costs and have supervised probation for an indefinite period following his release.

Based on the plea agreement Knisley entered into for the charges in Mecklenburg County, he was potentially facing another two life sentences for the murder and aggravated assault of Fabian, plus 25 years for her abduction and shooting and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Latif said Knisley had asked a judge in Cumberland to allow him to remain at Piedmont Regional Jail while awaiting trial in Mecklenburg County to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

The defense counsel called Knisley’s passing “ironic.”

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