Who was James William Warner? Body of Tennessee state rep's nephew found, girlfriend shot

Tennessee State Rep. Todd Warner's nephew was shot dead while his girlfriend Gracie Perryman was shot in the head and is in critical condition

                            Who was James William Warner? Body of Tennessee state rep's nephew found, girlfriend shot
Samuel Earl Rich (R) has been arrested in connection with the murder of James 'Will' William Warner (L) (Doak-Howell Funeral Home, Bedford County Sheriff's Office)

WEST NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: The shocking murder of 22-year-old James 'Will' William Warner, the nephew of Tennessee State Representative Todd Warner, has rattled Shelbyville residents, after his decomposing body was found on Friday, August 13. Warner was shot dead in West Nashville while his girlfriend Gracie Perryman was shot in the head the same morning. She is presently in critical condition and undergoing treatment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. 

Police have arrested 25-year-old Samuel Earl Rich, the son of Bedford County Judge Charles Rich, in connection to Gracie Perryman's shooting. He is also believed to be connected with Warner's murder. Warner, who was a resident of Shelbyville, was reportedly driven to West Nashville and shot to death. His body was left on the street and was later discovered by a Metro Water Crew. In fact, the body was found in such a badly decomposed condition that Warner's parents had to scramble to bury him.


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Meanwhile, a photo of Warner's pet dog laying on top of his grave has gone viral on social media. "My heart is broken after seeing this. The mother “Will” James William Warner, the Shelbyville man murdered in West Nashville, sent us this photo of her son’s dog lying atop his grave after his burial," WKRN reporter Julia Palazzo tweeted about the photo.


Who was James 'Will' William Warner?

James William Warner was born on October 8, 1998, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was the son of James Robert and Christy Warner West, and nephew of lawmaker Todd Warner. The Republican Representative described James as a "typical country boy" who helped his family breed cattle and grow row crops. "He loved life and loved people. It's just a tragic ending to something that should've never happened," Todd Warner said.

James graduated from Shelbyville Central High School in 2017 and had been helping his family out ever since. "He was a loving and hardworking young man, everything from farming with his family to guiding turkey hunts for out of town visitors. He enjoyed the real estate market, all outdoor activities, and spending time with family and friends," quoted his obituary with the Doak-Howell Funeral Home. 

His funeral service has been scheduled on Tuesday, August 17, at 7 pm, while a visitation will be held at church at 4 pm, prior to the service.

Though the motive being Warner's murder is not clear yet, police believe that the arrest of Samuel Earl Rich is a step in the right direction. Rich was nabbed on the night of August 15, after he surrendered to the Bedford County police. He was on the Most Wanted List of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for attempted first-degree murder and theft, on James Warner's girlfriend Gracie Perryman. He is also accused of stealing a vehicle belonging to either Warner or Perryman.

Rich was convicted in the past on a drug offense and served a sentence of three years with probation. Now, he is being held without bail.