SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Saturday marks one year since a young Shelbyville man was brutally murdered. Will Warner was shot multiple times and found on the side of the road in West Nashville.
“He executed him,” Will’s father James Warner stated.
August 14, 2021, was a nightmare for the Warners.
“He shot him three times in the back and then he got out of the car and shot him in the back of the head,” the heartbroken father explained.
Investigators say Will was killed at the hands of Sam Rich, a man released early on parole from breaking into the Warners’ home before.
“He threatened us for two years. He broke into our house twice, we had him arrested,” said James.
The judicial system failed the Warners, they say, and ultimately took their child’s life.
“It’s just hard, it’s hard to deal with.”
After killing Will, investigators say Rich went to Warner’s home where his plans to steal money were botched after Will’s former girlfriend walked in. That’s when Rich shot Gracie Perryman in the face.
“He killed one, tried to kill another, and even after being put in jail, he’s continued to try and kill Gracie or have Gracie killed and that’s something we are going to have to deal with for the rest of our life,” they said.
On Friday, the Warners visited their son over a mound of dirt, still waiting on a headstone.
“I sit out here a lot in the evenings that’s my time with him. I just talk to him, I just talk to him about my life,” Will’s mother Christy told News 2.
The silence is peaceful, while surrounded by ribbons, flowers and trinkets in Will’s memory.
“The 8 was his baseball number and his football number and he was known as the great 8,” Christy smiled through the heartache.
A trip to the cemetery is one Will’s best friend Ace wouldn’t miss.
“He still mourns Will and if you talk about Will he will look at you and if he smells his Clothes and stuff he will pout,” James explained of the dog.
Their loss is too heavy to put into words while a flag flapped over their son’s body, reading “Love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
“We are Christian people. We have faith, we know God has a plan. I just pray we are able to get the death penalty. I want to do what the Bible says to do and by law of the land he qualifies for the death penalty,” stated James.
Friends and family will gather at Will’s gravesite Sunday for a one-year memorial in his honor.
Rich was sentenced to 59 years for the attempted murder of Gracie Perryman. His trial in the murder of Warner is set for April.