‘It gets harder’: 2 months and still no answers in brutal murder of Shelbyville man

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SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A community is bonding together to assure justice is served in the murder of a 22-year-old Shelbyville man.

Wednesday marks two months since the gruesome murder of Will Warner who was shot five times, once in the head, before his body was dumped.

It’s been two heart-wrenching months as his parents find themselves hovered over their son’s grave every morning, instead of working together on the family farm.

“This is where I find my peace,” his mother softy said as she sat on the bench in front of her son’s memorial.

Keepsakes and trinkets provoke sweet memories of a time that once was.

“The shirt over here, the blue baseball shirt, that was actually Will’s shirt that a boy brought back. Will had taken the shirt off his back one day, because he was cold, he’d been in the rain so he wanted us to have it back,” she said, pointing to the shirt lying on the ground surrounded by flowers. 

Just beside it, a birthday balloon blew in the wind as Will’s first heavenly birthday has come and gone.

“Ten days ago, he would have been 23,” she said. 

On August 13, Christy and James Warner say a man that threatened their son for years killed their child.

“He lived two years with this guy threatening him for two years. You know, I should have did more. I could have did more, but I trusted the system,” the heartbroken father shook his head. 

The investigation shows Sam Rich was at Will’s Bedford County home within hours of his murder, where he is charged with shooting Will’s former girlfriend Gracie Perryman in the face.

“Executed one and then to shoot the little girl in the face at point blank range, what kind of monster does that?” the father questioned. 

Two months have passed and no charges have been filed for Will’s murder, although Metro police said Rich was being sought for questioning in the case that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now leading.

“We are confident in the prosecutors that we have and the TBI that this is going to be taken care of,” the parents stated. 

In the meantime, they are pleading for anyone that may have details in the case to come forward.

“It may be something small that they may not think is relevant, but it may be the missing piece to the puzzle.”

A puzzle that’s not complete as the broken parents lean on their faith for closure.

“Every second, not just everyday, it goes from minute to minute. The sadness will just be overwhelming and then you will see something that reminds you of him and then you will get a little joy and then you will get angry so it’s tough. It’s tough,” the parents said.

The community is fighting to assure justice is served for the Warner’s as “Justice for Will” signs pepper the community.

“There’s a lot of signs out there, around town, our community, the neighbors of course. We’ve had people reach out from Nashville wanting signs, Kentucky wanting signs, so it’s been heartfelt,” they said. 

From the dozens of signs to the thousands that follow a “Justice for Will” Facebook page, the family is thankful for the support. 

“The community has been just wonderful. Their support, you know even just late at night the people saying ‘I’m praying for you tonight’, you know thinking about you, they just don’t realize that that’s what gets us through each day,” Christy explained. 

Rich is in TDOC custody facing attempted murder in the shooting of Will’s former girlfriend Gracie Perryman. The TBI says Will’s case remains an active and ongoing investigation.

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