Benny Birchfield, the husband of late honky-tonk legend Jean Shepard, will not be charged for the fatal shooting that happened during an attack in his home this past weekend.
Birchfield’s involvement in the shooting death of Tanner Saunders, 21, has been ruled as self-defense by Sumner County authorities. On Saturday morning, Birchfield found Saunders attacking his granddaughter, Icie Sloan-Hawkins, with a knife in the basement of his Hendersonville, Tenn. home. In self-defense, Birchfield shot and killed Saunders.
When first responders arrived on the scene they found Saunders’ deceased body, shot five times, along with Sloan-Hawkins’ unconscious body. Sloan-Hawkins, 18, died shortly after the incident in the hospital due to numerous stab wounds.
Authorities say the reason for Saunders’ attack of Sloan-Hawkins is still under investigation. However, Sloan-Hawkins’ mother has stated that the two had recently broken up.
Following his release from the hospital Monday morning, Birchfield expressed his gratitude to those who have shown their support.
He thanked first responders “for their quick response and professionalism during this tragic time.” Birchfield went on to assure those concerned with his health that he is and will be fine. “For those who have asked, I am okay, and my wounds are slowly healing.”