Police: No charges in ‘very bloody’ attack, murder at Jean Shepard’s home

Knife in Jean Shepard Hendersonville attack_346340

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The widower of country singer Jean Shepard won’t face charges after shooting a 21-year-old man who attacked him and stabbed his granddaughter to death at his Hendersonville home.

The attack happened around 3 a.m. Saturday at Benny Birchfield’s Elnora Court residence just as he returned home.

Police said Birchfield called out to his 18-year-old granddaughter Icie Hawkins after hearing some sort of disturbance downstairs in the basement. After not receiving what police called an “appropriate response,” Birchfield went downstairs to check on her when he was confronted by Travis Sanders.

Sanders, who police said was Hawkins’ boyfriend, was armed with a large knife. He then attacked Birchfield, stabbing him in his head, neck and arm.

Police said Birchfield then fired as many as five shots at Sanders in self-defense. The 21-year-old died at the scene, which authorities described as “very bloody.”

Upon their arrival to the scene, police said the 79-year-old told them he had shot Sanders.

HIs granddaughter was taken to a local hospital with multiple stab wounds, but died on the way.

“It looked like she was trying to prevent someone from stabbing her,” Det. Sgt. Jim Vaughn said. “It was an extremely bloody crime scene.”

Birchfield was also transported to a local hospital for  his”severe injuries.” He has since undergone surgery and has been released.

“He’s recovered a lot. I talked to him today and he’s looking a lot better,” Vaughn said.

“I am okay and my wounds are slowly healing,” Birchfield said in a statement read by police in a news conference.

The Hendersonville Police Department turned over their findings in the case to the District Attorney on Monday. It was determined the case was not prosectuable.

Police still have not discovered a motive in the deadly attack, but did confirm Hawkins and Sanders were in a relationship. According to the victim’s mother, Hawkins may have been trying to break off the relationship.

“We’ve got all the answers except for the why, and we would like to find out why,” Vaughn said.

The investigation is ongoing.

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