Nephew of Tennessee state lawmaker laid to rest after murder in West Nashville

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Will Warner (Courtesy: Christy West Warner)

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The mother of a Shelbyville man murdered in West Nashville captured a heartbreaking photo of her son’s dog lying atop his grave after his burial.

Metro police said the body of James William Warner, known as “Will,” was found Friday morning by a Metro Water crew at the end of 35th Avenue North.

Detectives believe the 22-year-old was driven to the area and shot to death, then left in the street by his killer.

Will Warner (Courtesy: Christy West Warner)

Warner’s mother, Christy told News 2 that her son was laid to rest Sunday afternoon and explained “this was not the plan but it was necessary.”

She provided a photo of her son’s dog, Ace, on top of Warner’s grave after his burial.

(Courtesy: Christy West Warner)

“Ace went to school with Will every day during high school and waited in his truck,” Warner’s mother said. “This dog is so special and Will was so proud of him.”

Warner is the nephew of Tennessee state lawmaker, Todd Warner, who represents Marshall, Franklin, Lincoln and Marion counties.

Samuel Earl Rich (Courtesy: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Metro police issued an alert Saturday afternoon and said 25-year-old, Samuel Earl Rich was wanted for questioning in Warner’s murder.

Rich had already been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted list after being identified by investigators as the suspect in a Bedford County shooting.

The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office said Rich shot Warner’s girlfriend Friday morning on Temple Ford Road. She was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center with serious injuries, according to investigators.

Rich, who was wanted on charges of attempted murder and theft out of Bedford County, was arrested Sunday night by the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the agencies said.

As of Monday morning, he has not been charged in Warner’s murder.

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