NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The day before they bury a loved one, a Nashville family is still trying to come to terms with his brutal murder.
Three weeks ago, 48-year-old Erman Roy Thompson's decapitated body was discovered by a mail carrier on his lunch break in a field on Old Hermitage Avenue, south of I-40. His head was found in the garbage can in the alley behind a home at 116 Claiborne Street. Both men lived at the address with Thompson's wife and her three children.
"It's like waking up to a continuous nightmare," said Anita Quast, Thompson's daughter. "You sit in the house and you expect him to come walking through the door."
Quast and Thompson's longtime friend, Gary Basham, said the fact that a man they considered a family friend is charged with the crime makes the situation even harder to process.
"I thought they had a strong friendship," said Basham. "But I guess that old saying you can't judge a book by its cover is true."
Henry James Baxter, 37, remains in the Davidson County Jail under a $750,000 bond. He is charged with criminal homicide. During a preliminary hearing July 19, a Metro police detective testified that Baxter initially told him he killed Thompson because he was threatening his wife, Ashly Thompson. Baxter allegedly said Thompson often said he would kill Ashly Thompson if she ever left him.
Quast and Basham said they continue to ask themselves why this happened, and struggle to find answers. They describe Thompson as loving and generous, and said they miss him every day.
"There isn't anything that he wouldn't do for anyone," said Basham. "He'd give you the shirt off his back. I've seen him do it."
"I just want people to know he was very loved and respected in this community," said Quast. "He was a wonderful man."
The funeral is set for Thursday at Terrell Broady Funeral Home on Clarksville Pike in Nashville. The funeral home is covering all the costs in an effort to help the family.