Man Arrested After Decapitated, Decomposing Body Found - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Man Arrested After Decapitated, Decomposing Body Found

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Scene on Thursday on Old Hermitage Avenue where the decapitated body was discovered. Scene on Thursday on Old Hermitage Avenue where the decapitated body was discovered.
Home on Claiborne Street, where the murder allegedly took place. Home on Claiborne Street, where the murder allegedly took place.
Scene on Friday morning where police discovered the head of Erman Thompson, behind his home on Claiborne Street. Scene on Friday morning where police discovered the head of Erman Thompson, behind his home on Claiborne Street.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A man was arrested Friday morning for allegedly murdering, then decapitating and dumping a man's body in a field near downtown Nashville.

Henry James Baxter, 37, was charged with criminal homicide in the death of 48-year-old Erman Thompson. Thompson's decapitated body was discovered by a mail carrier on his lunch break on Thursday afternoon in a field on Old Hermitage Avenue, south of I-40.

The head was found in the garbage can in the alley behind a home at 116 Claiborne Street early Friday morning. Both men lived at the address with Thompson's wife and her three children.

During an interview Friday morning, Baxter allegedly confessed to killing Thompson during a fight over Thompson's wife at on Sunday, July 8. A police affidavit stated that the fight escalated, and Baxter said he took Thompson's gun and shot him in the head.

Baxter told police that he placed Thompson's body in a garbage can in the backyard. The following day, the affidavit states Baxter took the body out of the garbage can and cut off Thompson's head with a shovel before placing the body and head back into the garbage can.

Baxter then dumped the body to the vacant field on Old Hermitage Avenue sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to police. He allegedly left the head in the garbage can behind the home on Claiborne Street.

The mail carrier had smelled a foul odor in the area on Wednesday. After returning to the area on Thursday, he made the gruesome discovery.

Baxter was held on $750,000 bond at the Metro Jail.

The gun used in the homicide was also recovered in the backyard.

The victim's wife, Ashly Thompson, who has children with both men, says Baxter told her about the murder on Monday, three days before his body was discovered by the mailman. Thompson told NewsChannel 5 Friday that she knew about the murder on Monday, but was too scared to call police. She also showed NewsChannel 5 reporter Mark Bellinger a hole in the backyard that Baxter allegedly tried to dig, but gave up because the ground was too hard.

When asked if she had anything to do with the murder, Thompson replied, "No.  Never.  I love my husband.  We had our ups and downs, but every marriage does.  I would never."

Thompson says she was not at home Sunday when her husband was killed, but her three children were.


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