Man Filmed Himself Killing Grandad and Sent Footage to Family, Court Hears

A man recorded himself killing his 94-year-old grandfather then sent the footage to other family members, a detective told a West Virginia court.

Seth Ellis Donald, 36, is charged with the first degree murder of Maurice Sill, whose body was found in a wooded area of the Woodlands Retirement Community in Huntington in June 2019.

Speaking at a Cabell County Magistrate Court, Huntington police Sgt. Jason Davis said officers responded to a call that Donald made regarding his grandfather.

Donald claimed that the 94-year-old had a medical episode while they were at a lake, causing him to fall face-first to the ground and damage his nose, the Associated Press reported citing The Herald-Dispatch.

It was originally thought that Sill's death was due to natural causes.

"Based on the story that Mr Donald had provided and the injuries that were consistent with the injuries that Mr Donald explained, the medical examiner with his medical history in mind and his age decided not to respond," Davis said, via WCHS.

Davis said in January 2020, a family called the police to say they thought Sill's death may be suspicious.

Police in Beverly Hills, California, also contacted Huntington police on July 25 to say that Donald wanted to turn himself in.

Donald was arrested in Beverly Hills the following day, and extradited back to Huntington a year later on July 26, 2021, WCHS reported at the time.

Davis claimed that Donald offered to show him a video filmed on his iPad of him attacking his grandfather.

The video, which Davis said was 9-minutes long, allegedly showed the pair rolling on the ground while Donald covered Sill's face.

The video was not shown in court, but was described by the detective. Davis claims it began with the pair sitting on the bench before Donald tells his grandfather he is going to kill him because the family were "wasting resources on him and people like him had no future in this world."

The 94-year-old is said to start begging for his life before a hand is shown going over his face. Davis told the court the suspect can be heard saying "Let it come. Let it come. It's OK, Grandpa. It's time," during the clip.

"There's silence for another six minutes and seven seconds I think before Mr. Donald picks the camera up again, looks at it, turns it down before you see Mr. Sill laying on the ground," Davis told the court.

"One hand is covering his face and his legs are wrapped around his body and then he looks down at the camera and the camera goes off."

Davis said the suspect sent the video to other family members, one of whom contacted police after receiving the footage on Dropbox.

Davis also told the court that Donald provided written and recorded statements stating he murdered his grandfather.

Chief Cabell County Magistrate Dan Ferguson ruled there is enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury.

ipad murder
Close-up of judge holding gavel. A man recorded himself killing his 94-year-old grandfather then sent the footage to other family members, a court ahs heard. Harold M. Lambert / Contributor/Getty Images