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Authorities Reveal New Details of Deadly Attack on Jean Shepard’s Family

Grand Ole Opry/Chris Hollo

There are new details surrounding the events that left Jean Shepard’s widow, Benny Birchfield, injured while protecting his granddaughter. Police found Birchfield in his front yard early Saturday morning, suffering from stab wounds.

Unfortunately, Birchfield’s efforts to protect his 18-year old granddaughter were in vain. Icey Sloan-Hawkins had died from multiple stab wounds. Police also found the body of 21-year old Travis Sanders in Birchfield’s Hendersonville, Tenn. home.

Initial details of the stabbing and subsequent shooting were hazy, but since Birchfield’s release from the hospital, new ones emerged. Sloan-Hawkins had been living with Birchfield and his wife Jean to assist Shepard, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease. When Shepard passed away in September of 2016, Sloan-Hawkins continued to live in the Hendersonville home, running errands for Birchfield.

During this time, Hawkins-Sloan developed a romantic relationship with Sanders, after multiple years of friendship. Apparently, Hawkins-Sloan broke up with Sanders after he stole money from her.

Upon the night of the fatal stabbings, Birchfield heard Hawkins-Sloan and Sanders arguing in the basement and went to check. Sanders attacked Birchfield with a knife, and Birchfield went back upstairs to grab his gun. He returned downstairs and shot Sanders, killing him instantly.

After Hawkins-Sloan died in the hospital, Birchfield was informed of her death after his release. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made, but Hawkins-Sloan will be buried next to her biological grandfather, Hawkshaw Hawkins.

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Authorities Reveal New Details of Deadly Attack on Jean Shepard’s Family