Murfreesboro man charged in murder of 86-year-old woman

William Brace
(Mug: Bedford County Sheriff's Office)

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Murfreesbro man was charged in the murder of an 86-year-old woman found dead in Bedford County last week.

Lois Jean Espy was discovered naked and bloody with “obvious trauma” last Monday, Feb. 23 in a rural area of Mullins Mill Road in Shelbyville.

“I’m very shocked and appalled. Don’t understand how somebody could do that to an elderly lady that’s so sweet.” said Bobby Canterbury, an acquaintance of the victim.

During their investigation, authorities were led to Espy’s neighbor, 60-year-old William Brace.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said Brace is responsible for killing Espy in her Murfreesboro apartment on or around Feb. 22 then dumping her body in Bedford County.

Brace was charged with one count of first degree murder.

Joanne, who asked us not to use her last name, told News 2 Espy was her former foster parent. She also said Espy was a retired nurse and widow who had a big heart that impacted many lives, including hers.

“She took me in when I was younger as, like, a foster daughter and raised me on up to my teens. Got me off the streets,” said Joanne.

Joanne said Espy also volunteered at an area jail ministry, counseling inmates in an effort to help turn their lives around. She believes Espy’s only downfall was her trust for others.

“She knew everybody, had hope to change and become decent people, and I think she let her guard down,” said Joanne.

Brace is being held in the Rutherford County jail without bond.

The investigation is ongoing.

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