Johnny Cash's great-niece found slain in home in Tennessee

Courtney Cash, the great-niece of celebrated entertainer Johnny Cash, was stabbed to death and stuffed into a chest in her home in rural Tennessee, officials said.

Wayne Masciarella, 27, of Cape May, N.J., was charged with first-degree murder in the Wednesday death of Cash, 23. He is also charged with stabbing Cash's boyfriend, William Austin Johnson, who survived the attack, Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews told reporters at a news conference.


"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.

Cash is the granddaughter of Tommy Cash, Johnny's brother. Tommy Cash released a statement asking for prayers for the family.

"We are completely heartbroken," the statement said.

According to Andrews, Cash and Johnson had gone out with Masciarella and that an altercation had taken place at the house in Baxter, Tenn., about 70 miles from Nashville. Cash lived in the home with Johnson and their young child.

Cash's body was found in a cedar chest just inside the front door, Andrews told reporters. The scene inside the house was "somewhat bloody."

After the attack, Johnson scooped up the child and sought help, the sheriff said.