9 years after Johnny Cash’s great niece killed, families call for second look into Putnam County, TN death investigations

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PUTNAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nine years after the great niece of Johnny Cash was found brutally murdered at her Putnam County home, community members are calling for a second look at several local death investigations.

On Saturday, March 18, multiple families who have lost loved ones gathered in downtown Cookeville. This weekend marks not only the “angel-versary” of when Courtney Cash was killed, but also the one-year mark since another man’s remains were found.

Although Wayne Masciarella is currently serving a 15-year sentence in connection with Courtney’s death, her family believes another person was involved.

Over the past several months, Courtney’s mother, Cindy, said she obtained a police report for her daughter’s case she did not know existed.

“We’re requesting for them to even just look at their own records, their own reporting, their own investigating,” Cindy said.

Cindy now raises Courtney’s 10-year-old daughter, Cameryn.

“It’s just heartbreaking because I can’t be her mother,” Cindy said. “It’s just hard. It’s just so hard.”

The family of Brandon Hood — who died from a drug overdose involving fentanyl in 2020 — also attended Saturday’s rally.

Hood’s sister, Monica Cason, hopes to one day see murder charges brought against the person who provided Hood the drugs he overdosed on.

“I think it needs to be stronger than second-degree murder because it is premeditated, I think,” Cason explained. “You knowingly sell someone drugs, you know what the chance is. That’s like playing Russian Roulette.”

Cason hopes a murder charge would bring closure to Hood’s daughter, and also send a strong message to drug dealers.

“At our rally today the stories that were being told were the people smoking pot laced with fentanyl, and dying,” Cason said. “My brother was a drug addict. Just because he was a drug addict that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve justice.”

One of the other families calling for a second look into a loved one’s death investigation is the family of Josh Bohannon, who also marked a grim milestone this week.

Bohannon’s remains were discovered March 17, 2022, at Window Cliffs State Natural Area roughly nine months after he was reported missing.

At the time Bohannon’s remains were discovered, Sheriff Eddie Ferris said his department and the District Attorney’s Office spent hundreds of hours working to find Bohannon.

Despite that, Bohannon’s family suspects foul play.

According to his aunt, Vickie Jones, Bohannon had diabetes and her family does not believe he could have made it to the spot where his remains were found.

“I know that he didn’t go down there and take his clothes off and die in a cave,” Jones said. “There’s just no way that he did this. He was too sick to get where they found his body.”

UNSOLVED TENNESSEE: Find more of the state’s cold cases, missing persons, and other mysteries

At the end of the day, those at Saturday’s rally hope officials will revisit these cases and re-examine possible suspects.

News 2 reached out to District Attorney Bryant Dunaway for comment on Saturday. Dunaway said he did want to respond, but he was out of town, so he would follow up on Monday, March 20.

During last year’s rally, Dunaway provided the following response, addressing the concerns of Courtney’s family and others:

“I have great sympathy for family members who have lost loved ones due to the criminal act. I often see that their grief can be overwhelming. I pray for their peace.
The murderer of Courtney Cash, Wayne Masciarella, pleaded guilty to second degree murder and is in prison today. The family has stated to me that they feel that Austin Johnson should have been charged as well. The evidence just does not support that position. This office can only ethically charge and prosecute persons for criminal offenses where there is a good faith belief that the evidence will support a conviction. In this case, the evidence available indicated only Maciarella as being the murderer.”


9 years after Johnny Cash’s great niece killed, families call for second look into Putnam County, TN death investigations

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