GREENWOOD, CA — The teen who was accused of shooting and killing his father, his father’s fiancée, and his eight-year-old half brother and then burning their bodies has been convicted of their murders.
The jury found Nolen Buchanan guilty on three counts of first-degree murder and three special allegations that he personally used a firearm with intent to discharge, causing death.
On the morning of September 13, 2015, Nolen, then just 16, used a .22 caliber rifle to shoot his father Adam Buchanan, 38; Adam’s fiancée Molly McAfee, 37; and their eight-year-old son, Gavin, at their vacation cabin in Greenwood, California.
Nolen then poured gasoline over the bodies and set them on fire, the El Dorado County District Attorney said in a press release. The cabin eventually burned to the ground. Nolen then drove his family’s truck back to their home in Benicia, and tried to cover up his activities with lies and a fake alibi.
In court, he said his father shot his stepmother and half-brother and tried to shoot him. Then, the teen claimed that he wrestled the gun away from his father and shot him in self-defense.
However, prosecutors used forensic evidence to counter Nolen’s story and prove it to be impossible, according to the district attorney’s office. Prosecutors were able to successfully argue that the teen had planned the murder — beginning with internet searches for night-vision goggles.
Nolen planned to take over Buchanan Construction in Benicia, which was the family business run by his father.
Nolen is currently being held at the El Dorado County Jail. He is due to be sentenced on July 12.
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The Sacramento Bee
Main photo: Nolen Buchanan [El Dorado County District Attorney]