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Police: Boyfriend Stabbed Jean Shepard's Granddaughter, Husband

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 12:40:35-05

Tuesday police released new details after two people were killed and one was injured in stabbing attack at the home of the late country legend Jean Shepard over the weekend.

The incident happened around 3 a.m. Saturday at a home in the 200 block of Elnora Court.

When officers got to the home they found Shepard's husband, 79-year-old Benny Birchfield, at the front of the home, wounded and bloody.

He told officers he had been stabbed and that he shot someone inside the home. Birchfield was taken to the hospital where he underwent surgery.

Once inside the home, police found Shepard's granddaughter 18-year-old Icie Hawkins clinging to life. Her boyfriend, 21-year-old Travis Sanders, was dead. 

"It was an extremely bloody crime scene," said Hendersonville Police Spokesperson Det. Sgt. Jim Vaughn.

He said Hawkins was rushed to the hospital but died on the way.

Birchfield told police he arrived home and heard a disturbance in the basement. He thought he heard his granddaughter but couldn't tell what she said.

He said when he went downstairs, Sanders confronted him, stabbing his neck and head.  That's when Birchfield fired five shots from his .38 caliber pistol, killing Sanders.

Police said both the knife and gun were recovered from the scene. The knife is 10" long, and there was no sign of forced entry into the home.

"We've got all of the answers except for the why," Vaughn said, "we want to find out the why."

Hawkins' mother told investigators that her daughter had been trying to end her relationship with Sanders.

According to autopsy results, Sanders died from gunshot wounds and Hawkins died from stab wounds. Police retrieved cell phones and drug paraphernalia from the home, but refused to go into further detail on evidence.

Neighbors tell NewsChannel 5 police had been called to the home several times in the past, which police confirmed. However officers said they did not have the information on why HPD had been called to the home.

Anyone with information on this deadly stabbing has been urged to call Hendersonville Crime Stoppers at 615-573-5400.

We also want to make a correction.  In the original version of this story that aired in our 10 p.m. broadcast on 12/20/2016 we showed a picture indicating it was Travis Sanders.  The picture we showed was NOT Travis Sanders.  The man we showed had nothing to do with this crime.  We apologize for our mistake.