Johnny Cash's Great-Niece Fatally Stabbed

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NASHVILLE — A 27-year-old man has been charged with fatally stabbing the great-niece of legendary country entertainer Johnny Cash.

Wayne Masciarella of Cape May, N.J., was charged with first-degree murder in the Wednesday death of 23-year-old Courtney Cash. He was also accused of stabbing her boyfriend, William Austin Johnson.

Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews said Cash's body was found in a chest Wednesday morning in a home near Cookeville, about 70 miles east of Nashville.

Andrews said Masciarella had gotten into a dispute with Cash and Johnson at their home in Baxter, Tenn., before he allegedly stabbed them both and fled. The three were believed to be friends, the sheriff said.

            After the attack, Johnson took his 20-month-old daughter to a nearby hospital. The baby was not injured, but Johnson was               treated for multiple wounds. His daughter was later taken to a relative's house.

When police arrived at the Baxter home, they found the body of Cash hidden in a cedar chest.

The scene inside the house was "somewhat bloody," Andrews told reporters at a news conference.

"There was a struggle," the sheriff said.

The suspect may have been trying to hide Cash's body, Andrews said. A motive was not released, but Andrews indicated the stabbings were likely connected to drugs.

"This is a senseless, tragic death of a young lady whose life was probably taken as a direct or indirect result of drugs," Andrews said.

Masciarella was later arrested in Cookeville. He was booked without bond into the Putnam County Jail, where he awaits a preliminary hearing next week. Andrews did not rule out that additional charges could be filed against Masciarella.

Andrews said the suspect had been previously arrested more than 20 times in Putnam County.

Cash was the granddaughter of Tommy Cash, the brother of the late Johnny Cash. In a statement, Tommy Cash asked for prayers and privacy for his family.

"Courtney and her boyfriend are beloved members of my family and like you we have a lot of questions and emotions that we are beginning to sort through today,'' the statement read. "We are completely heartbroken. It is a time like this that we are grateful for our faith and trusting the loving guidance of God."


Poor girl. Dying that like is awful.