A US university footballer tweeted his love for his cheerleader girlfriend hours before he was charged with her murder.

WBIR reports that Emma Jane Walker, 16, was found dead from a gunshot wound in her home on Monday morning.

Overnight, her boyfriend, William Riley Gaul, 18, was charged with her murder.

Gaul, who previously attended Central High School in Tennessee like Walker, allegedly fired a gun into her home "with exact proximity to where the victim, Emma Walker was sleeping", according to the arrest warrant.

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The couple had recently ended their relationship but Gaul refused to accept the breakup, according to Walker's aunt Jenny Weldon.

William Riley Gaul and Emma Jane Walker went to prom together. Photo / Twitter
William Riley Gaul and Emma Jane Walker went to prom together. Photo / Twitter

On Tuesday night he tweeted, "I love you Emma, I can't be around any of that yet, it's too soon. I know you know I'm dying to be there but understand I can't. I love you."
A day earlier he shared a long tribute to Emma and paired it with a Corinthians Bible verse.

Authorities are holding Gaul on US$750,000 ($1 million) bond in the Knox County Jail.
A YouCaring page was set up to pay for Emma's funeral. A little over US$3000 has already been raised.


The site described her as "fun, kind, with a sweet spirit that was contagious".

It said the 16-year-old, the daughter of Mark and Jill Walker and sister of Evan, wanted to become a nurse.