“Mr. Rich has exhibited little or no regard for human life,” Senior Trial Judge Thomas J. Wright said during the sentencing hearing of 25-year-old Samuel Earl Rich on Thursday.
“Mr. Rich has exhibited little or no regard for human life,” Senior Trial Judge Thomas J. Wright said during the sentencing hearing of 25-year-old Samuel Earl Rich on Thursday. “I think you deserve the most (prison) time I can give you. You shot Ms. Perryman and left her for dead. You shot people and just went on about your business.”
“Such despicable acts cannot be tolerated in a civil society,” Wright said.
“Let me express to Ms. Perryman and her family and to the family of Will Warner how deeply sorry I am for your loss” Wright said.
Rich was convicted at a jury trial in late June of seven crimes in connection with shooting Hannah Gracie Perryman in the early morning hours of Aug. 13, 2021. He shot Perryman in the face. Prosecutors said, Rich stood over her for a few minutes after shooting her to see if she was dead.
He also was charged with shooting and killing Perryman’s boyfriend, James William Warner, a few hours before he shot Perryman. Warner was shot four times and left near the intersection of Deleware Avenue and 35th Avenue North in Nashville. People in the area where Warner’s body was found reported hearing gunshots that night at around 11:30 p.m.
Rich is also set to stand trial on April 24, 2023 for the murder of Will Warner. Rich is charged in Davidson County with two counts of Felony Murder, 1st Degree Murder, Especially Aggravated Robbery, Felon in Possession of a Firearm and Theft (of items valued at between $10,000 and $60,000).
MAXIMUM SENTENCE FOR SHOOTING
Judge Wright, sentenced Rich to the maximum prison terms for shooting Perryman and his other crimes committed that night in Bedford County.
Rich was sentenced to a total of 59 years: 25 for Attempted 1st Degree Murder, 10 years for Employing a Firearm During the Commission of a Dangerous Felony, 6 years for Theft of Property (valued at between $10,000 and $60,000), 6 years for Felon in Possession of a Weapon, 6 years for Aggravated Burglary, 12 years for Especially Aggravated Burglary and 6 years for Tampering with Evidence. (The judgment for Especially Aggravated Burglary was merged into the Attempted 1st Degree Murder charge thus reducing the 71 years total to 59.)
Although the sentences would appear to result in the imprisonment of Rich until age 84, it’s unlikely he will remain in prison that long. Under Tennessee law, Rich will be eligible for early release (parole) after 41 1/2 years, at age 66. His sentence may also be reduced further with jail credits ( for good behavior while incarcerated, commonly call ‘good time.’)
Typically “ inmates serve the minimum sentence “to make room for dangerous individuals,” said Senior Trial Judge Thomas J. Wright as he concluded issuing the sentence to Rich.
RICH TRIES TO GET HIS VICTIM MURDERED?
In the sentencing hearing Thursday, TBI Special Agent Robert “Bobby” Simmons testified that following the shooting of Perryman, Rich made numerous phone calls from jail trying to hire someone to kill her. Rich allegedly said repeatedly that with Perryman out of the way police would have no case. Simmons said, Rich was hoping he could hire someone to kill her with a drug overdose to make it look accidental. In an audio recording played in court, Rich tells a man he was trying to hire he is “…going to do his best to work something out” to pay him. “I’m a good guy,” Rich said. Early in the call, Rich identifies himself as “This is the other gangster.”
Rich tries to assure the man that he will pay, telling him he has a construction business and giving the man family information as references. He told the man his sister’s, mom’s and grandmother’s address and phone numbers. Rich reportedly mentioned to the man that his father was in the Judicial system. (Bedford County General Sessions Judge Charles Rich is Samuel’s father.) The man Rich called told him he needed “10 up front,” but when Rich balked at that the man said to Rich, “If you can’t do 10, can you do it 5?” “I’m a good guy,” Rich said.
According to TBI agent Simmons, Rich also tried to get one of his fellow inmates (Andrew Rittenhouse), who testified against him in the Bedford County trial, killed.
THE PRICE VICTIMS PAY
The following are portions of the victim’s impact statement of Gracie Perryman:
“On August 13, 2021, Samuel Rich changed my life forever in the worst way imaginable. Without any warning or reason, he shot me in the face and left me to die. I was life-flighted to the hospital. When I woke up, I was told that my boyfriend, the love of my life, Will Warner, had been murdered in cold blood and left in Nashville.
“Before that day, I was happy, and healthy. Will and I were planning a future together. We had big plans and bright dreams. We dreamt of a house on the hill, even a family one day. We were taking our first steps to making our dreams a reality.
“After that day, our dreams were crushed. Nothing is the same and it never will be. I’m no longer healthy, and happiness seems just out of reach. I’ve been left with permanent physical injuries that will continue to affect the way I speak and swallow. Due to my carotid artery being severed, I am at high risk of stroke and developing blood clots in my brain. I have already undergone multiple surgeries and will continue to have surgeries just to live a functional life again….
“But none of the physical pain I’ve endured compares to the emotional toll this monster has caused me….”
Perryman continued: “No amount of love, therapy, or sheer will can take away the pain Sam has left me with. I can’t go a day without PTSD. I have flashbacks, I don’t sleep at night. I don’t trust people anymore. I can no longer eat out with my family due to panic attacks. I’ll no longer be that silly, fun loving girl I once was.”
Gracie, in her statement, vowed to not let Sam Rich win. “Only by the Grace of God am I here today,” she said. “He did not succeed. I will use that same Grace and hold on to hope. I will rebuild myself and move foreward….”
Gracie’s mom, Chanda Scott, and her grandmother, Lori Coziahr, also read victim impact statements.
“I will never forget the most terrifying moment of my life,” Scott said. “It came at 3 a.m. on August 13, 2021. The ringing of my phone woke me from a deep sleep. It was Christie Warner (Will Warner’s mom). My heart dropped instantly; I knew something was terribly wrong. I answered and heard the words no parent is ever prepared to hear; ‘Gracie has been shot in the head. She just left in the ambulance. She said Sam Rich shot her….’
In the courtroom for Sam Rich’s sentencing hearing there were some 17 people. On the prosecution side of the room there were 14, Gracie Perryman and her family members and, reportedly, family members of Will Warner. On the defendant’s side of the courtroom were Sam Rich’s sisters, Sarah Kathryn Rich and Caroline Rich. Behind Rich’s sisters sat Adolfo Ramos, a friend of Sam’s since they were in elementary school. Sam Rich, smirked as he entered the courtroom and smiled and laughed at various times throughout the proceedings as he spoke to his sisters. His demeanor was not in sync with what would be expected of a person who was about to be sentenced to a long prison term.
Although his attorney, Robert L. Marlow, advised Rich not to speak, Rich chose to take the witness chair and speak in his own defense. Rich launched into a bizarre story about an incident in March of 2019 involving letters from his dead grandmother. Rich said while on a FaceTiime call, someone put a bundle of his grandmother’s letters in a plastic bag and urinated into the bag. Rich’s face became flushed with anger; “I was so mad,” he shouted. Rich turned once during his statement to the Perryman family and said “I’m so sorry, from the bottom of my heart … but I’m not the animal you make me out to be.”
Gracie Perryman concluded her victim impact statement addressing Judge Wright as follows: “I hope you see the damage Sam Rich has caused so many lives. I beg you to keep him where he belongs. He’s no man. But a coward and an animal who belongs behind bars. He shouldn’t be given the chance to destroy anyone else’s life.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here