Teen Charged with 1st Degree Murder in Father's Death

(WBIR) -- Four Greene County teenagers who were wanted in connection to an East Tennessee murder have been charged in South Carolina.

On Thursday, deputies with the Newberry County Sheriff's Office in South Carolina caught 16-year-old son Zack, along with three other teen suspects: 15-year-old Liam Lawler 15-year-old Daniel Richards-Birchfield and 16-year-old Shelby Riley.

A call went out to law enforcement in several states to search for the teens after deputies in Greene County found the body of Robert Blanchard late Wednesday night.

Now Blanchard's son, Zack, is charged with first-degree murder in his father's death.

The three other teens who were captured with him in South Carolina were all charged with being accessories to that crime, after the fact, as well as theft of property over $1,000.

Neighbors told WBIR 10News the Blanchards were not originally from Greene County and they kept to themselves most of the time.

But, Greeneville resident Courtney Melton did get to talk to Zack Blanchard a little more often. She would tutor him after his school day would wrap up at Greene County Christian School.

Melton also said Blanchard was quiet, but she also said he was a "sweet" kid. She added she was surprised when she heard he may have been involved in his father's death.

"It seemed like he thought the world of him, seemed like his Dad and him had a great relationship, more like brothers than father and son, but I was shocked to find this out," Melton said.

All four defendants in the case are expected to have a hearing in juvenile court Monday in Newberry County, South Carolina. Cecil Mills with the Greene County District Attorney General office said no timeline has been set yet for extradition.

He said they need to look at all the facts and then they'll make the decision at a later date on whether the four will be tried as adults or juveniles, and that the state will look at each suspect individually.

This is not the first time one of these four teenagers have been in the news. WBIR 10News also confirmed that Richards-Birchfield had been stabbed multiple times in the back at South Greene County High School cafeteria late last September.

The person who stabbed Richards-Birchfield was charged with attempted first-degree murder shortly after that incident.


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