5 of the Most Gruesome and Bizarre Nashville Murders

Nashville has plenty of history surrounding it. There’s the country music, the downtown area, the Titans, the Civil War battlegrounds. Oh, yeah, and the death. Here is a list of a few of the most bizarre and unsettling Nashville Murders. Enjoy.

5. The Unsolved Drake Hotel Murder

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From the book Nashville Haunted Handbook: “One day, a lodger who was staying in one of the rooms noticed a strange smell coming from the closet. To the lodger’s horror, a body had been stuffed into the closet. When the police came to investigate, they found that the room had initially been completely covered with the murder victim’s blood but at some point had been thoroughly cleaned. Upon further investigation, they discovered that the maid had actually entered the room the day after the murder, seen the bloody mess, and then cleaned the room for the next lodger. On top of this, she didn’t mention to anyone that there was blood all over the room. This Nashville murder is still unsolved.”

4. The Horrific Murder of “Skull” Schulman

David “Skull” Schulman owned the “colorful” Rainbow Room in downtown Nashville and was known casually as the “Mayor of Printer’s Alley.” His strip club was Nashville-famous and brought him plenty of local fame and attention from the stars in and around the city. As the picture suggests, he was fond of walking his poodles (dyed a variegated mixture to match his Rainbow Room) and once received one from Elvis Presley. One day, having arrived at his club early, he was attacked and robbed, presumably for the rolls of bills he kept in the front pocket of his overalls. The two men, who turned out to be near-homeless carnies, slit Schulman’s throat and thrashed him over the head with a liquor bottle. The 80-year-old Schulman survived the attack but died the next day. Tanya Tucker rushed to be by his side, and Willie Nelson appeared on America’s Most Wanted to assist in the investigation. The men were found, tried, and sentenced to life in prison.


3. The Shootout That Killed Prohibitionist Edward Ward Carmack

Edward Ward Carmack was a journalist and politician who became entangled in the early 20th Century alcohol prohibition fight. Carmack lost a heated Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1908, only to join the then-prohibitionist newspaper, The Tennessean, and begin vicious attacks on his former political rivals, including former friend Duncan Brown Cooper.

Carmack was warned to cease his attacks, but he ignored the pleas and things came to a bitter end on November 9, 1908, when Carmack and Cooper (and Cooper’s son) crossed paths in downtown Nashville. Words escalated to deeds when the men drew weapons and fired on one another. Carmack hit and wounded Cooper’s son, while the elder Cooper shot and killed Carmack.

Carmack’s death buoyed the prohibitionist movement, who turned Carmack into a martyr. The sale of liquor and booze was later outlawed, and a statue of Carmack stands in front of the capitol grounds just off downtown Nashville to this very day. Most people have no idea who the statue represents. This has to be the most famous political Nashville murder to date.


2.  The Disappearance and Murder of Marcia Virginia Trimble

9-year-old Marcia Trimble met a sad and violent end in February, 1975, while delivering Girl Scout Cookies in her neighborhood. At first, the case was treated as a mere disappearance, but as time passed, the FBI became involved, somewhat convinced it could be a kidnapping case.

The blond-haired, blue-eyed Trimble was found dead on Easter Sunday — 33 days after her disappearance — in a neighbor’s garage. She had been sexually assaulted before being strangled and tossed aside.

The investigation singled in on a local 15-year-old boy who lived near the Trimbles on Copeland Dr. near Harpeth Hall. Jeffrey Womack was believed to be the last person to see Marcia Trimble alive, and so it went that he was most likely responsible for her death. Womack was arrested in 1980 and charged with the crime but was later released due to lack of evidence.

The murder went unsolved for another thirty years, until 2008, when DNA evidence pointed the finger at convicted rapist Jerome Barrett, who had committed a series of other crimes in the area at the time. Barrett was sentenced to 44 years in prison for second-degree murder in the Trimble case.

Related: Read the Nashville Scene’s Complete File on the Marcia Trimble Case.


1. The Janet March Disappearance

Perhaps the most bizarre and labyrinthine story on the list, the disappearance and murder of Janet March has spellbound the city for twenty years. March disappeared in August of 1996, and though husband Perry March was almost immediately regarded as the suspect, he managed to elude police for ten years before being arrested, extradited from Mexico, and convicted in the disappearance of his wife.

Perry March’s side of the story went like this: On August 15, 1996, he and his wife had a “typical” matrimonial squabble, after which she packed up and left, leaving him with their two children, Sammy and Tzipora, and a Honey-Do List to be completed before she returned in 12 days. When she didn’t make it home in time for Sammy’s birthday, though, he called in Janet’s disappearance.

Related: Read a More In-Depth Analysis of the Janet March Case

Almost from the get-go, police believed Perry March was guilty of murdering his wife. Janet’s Volvo was found five miles from the March residence, and it had all of the belongings she supposedly took with her at the time, including her passport and luggage. March himself, in a bizarre twist, first moved with the children to Chicago to escape the heat of the trial, and then fled to Mexico to live with his own retired father, Arthur March.

Never giving up, the Nashville team assigned to the case continued to gather evidence. They got an indictment from the grand jury in 2005 and traveled to Mexico to arrest an unsuspecting Perry March. During the trial, Perry’s own father finally admitted to helping his son dispose of Janet’s body in Kentucky, more or less sinking any of Perry March’s hopes that he would escape conviction in the case of one Janet March. March was sentenced to 56 years in prison in September of 2006. He has repeatedly appealed his conviction but remains in prison.

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