NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Laid back and caring is how a neighbor describes a man that’s now charged with a brutal, disturbing, West Nashville murder.
Gerry Weatherby is known as Neil to many in Wayne County, where they say he and his wife ran a handyman company.
“The Neil I know would have never done something like this,” Joshua Bullard tells News 2.
He says he was a correctional officer when he met Weatherby, who was an inmate at the Wayne County jail nearly four years ago.
“Even based on his criminal record, I knew about his history and I believed that he had paid his dues and he was a good man.”
Weatherby has a lengthy state criminal past dating back to 1992, with charges ranging from robbery and drugs to prostitution and theft. Now he is in Metro jail facing charges in the murder of Daniel Shields, whose decomposing body was found inside his West Nashville apartment in July.
“This man was bound, covered, beaten,” explained Bullard.
The autopsy report says Shields was bound at the wrist and ankles with numerous chords, blankets, and clothing.
“It’s far more disturbing than anything I’ve ever seen or heard about,” Bullard stated.
The report says there were blunt force injuries to Shields’ neck and chest that went to his heart, but the autopsy results were inconclusive as to the cause of death.
“The level of violence in this case I would never think possible coming from Neil. He’s a very laid back, calm, personable, respectful, caring individual,” said Bullard.
He went on to say Weatherby is married with four stepchildren and their families were very close.
“He’s been at soccer games holding my daughter, kissing my daughter, loving on my daughter since this incident occurred.”
Bullard says he has seen Weatherby several times since the brutal murder of Shields, talking to him just days before his arrest last week.
“I just don’t see without there being somebody being in Neil’s ear or some kind of drug or alcohol psychosis him being this violent towards anybody.”
Bullard says Weatherby’s wife is shocked but did mention that he kind of vanished for a couple of weeks around the time of Shields’ murder.
Friends and family of both Shields and Weatherby say they don’t know how the two may have crossed paths.
“We are still trying to figure that out. We are trying to figure this out, is this a hate crime? Did Danny know him? We don’t know who he is,” Daniel Shields’ sister Sharrie Shields told News 2.
She went on to say, “Weatherby is a monster, he tortured my brother and deserves the death penalty. This man not only took my brother away from us, he ripped all of our hearts out.”
Weatherby’s arraignment is scheduled for next Wednesday.