Known for low crime, Brentwood's short history includes 8 homicides, 2 still open

Monday, May 6, 2013 at 12:46am
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(Courtesy NewsChannel5)


Behind closed doors, a lot can happen.

The couple that you see as loving and committed to each other in public may fight and scream in private. You assume they live quiet, content lives, but their reality could be quite different. And sometimes that world explodes in the night, leading to a loss of life.

Such was the case in Brentwood’s exclusive Governors Club neighborhood, where Dr. Rachael Maidens, 34, a prominent orthodontist and the mother of a 2-year-old daughter, was killed on April 21. Police named her husband Randolph Maidens as the alleged shooter and apprehended him as he exited the woods near the family home after a 12-hour manhunt.

Police charged him with criminal homicide and he is being held in Williamson County Jail in lieu of a $2.5 million bond.

The news of the fatal shooting and manhunt shocked many in the community, not just because of who was killed, but where it took place.

Brentwood is considered a wealthy suburb of Nashville with a population of around 37,000 people, according to the 2010 census, encompassing 34 square miles. Murders aren’t supposed to happen there, but they do.

“According to one source, Brentwood was recently ranked as one of the top 100 safest cities in America,” Brentwood Chief of Police Jeff Hughes told The City Paper. “We are blessed to have a very low crime rate in Brentwood, but that doesn’t mean that we are without crime — even serious crime in some cases, as evidenced by the recent homicide in the Governors Club. The suspect, Randolph Maidens, has been charged with criminal homicide in that case.”

Hughes added, “There have only been eight homicides in the history of the city. Although two of those cases are still open, arrests have been made.”

The city of Brentwood was incorporated in 1969 and hired its first police officer in 1971.

A review of the city’s homicides shows that in most cases the victim knew the killer — or alleged killer in the cases still winding their way through the judicial system.

The first murder took place in 1978. Brentwood police said a Metro schoolteacher was strangled and had his throat cut on Warner Court, just behind what is now Lipscomb Elementary off of Concord Road.

According to the Feb. 23, 1978, edition of the then-independent newspaper The Review Appeal, the victim, 65-year-old Robert B. Vann, was found dead in his home that Valentine’s Day. Vann, a retired McGavock High School guidance counselor who had been working at a Glencliff High School adult education program, had been strangled with a lamp chain and hit repeatedly with a claw hammer before his throat was slashed.

The paper also reported that Vann’s brother, Richard, then 76, suffered a heart attack after discovering the grisly scene and had to be hospitalized.

Police arrested Reginald Eugene Mallard, then 27, in connection with the killing a few days later near an “East Nashville pizza and fish house,” according to the paper.


• In 1986, at the Kwik Sak convenience store on Moores Lane, store clerk Patricia Smith was gunned down in a robbery. The case remained open until May 10, 1995, when William Lee Tollett was convicted of first-degree murder in the crime.

The case was finally cracked when an accomplice of Tollett’s was sitting years later in a Nashville jail cell for an unrelated crime. He asked to speak to detectives about a murder that had been weighing on his mind.

According to the state, Tollett is incarcerated at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility and not eligible for parole until 2035 when he will be 68 years old.


• Also in 1986, a contractor named Ray Smith Miller was gunned down in the Belle Rive neighborhood off of Granny White Pike. Randy Earl Burgess, 35, was charged with second-degree murder in the case.


• One of the more bizarre murders occurred in 1993. Betty Barnes was killed by her daughter-in-law Mary Barnes in the Carondelet neighborhood, just off Wilson Pike. The death was caused by strangulation, but then things got really strange.

Joe Baugh, district attorney for the area from 1982 until 1998 said Mary Barnes kept her mother-in-law’s body on ice in the trunk of her car for a few weeks. The body was finally discovered at a rest stop in Metropolis, Ill., when a police officer checked on the car because Mary Barnes was sleeping in it. Barnes, who had been hitting casinos in Metropolis, spoke with the officer, who also noticed water dripping from the trunk and a putrid and highly suspicious smell emanating from the car. When he asked her what was in the trunk she replied, “You might want to check.”

Betty Barnes’ son Pete was cleared of any involvement in the murder, and Mary died in state prison in 2006.


• In 2002, domestic violence reared its head in the Willowick subdivision on Franklin Road. Barbara Clark shot and killed her husband with a handgun, then turned it on herself.


• Earlier this year James Naïve was convicted of first-degree murder for the July 16, 2010, killing of his sister, Elizabeth Swaney, on Alamo Road near Moores Lane. Swaney was shot with a handgun. Naïve, 65, is in a state special-needs facility and isn’t eligible for  parole until 2069, when he would be 122 years old.


• Bryan Bell was killed in 2010 at his Brentwood Pointe condo near Cool Springs Galleria. On an early September morning his girlfriend, Tanya Slimick from Pittsburgh, called 911 and allegedly told police that she had shot her boyfriend. That case is still open and awaiting trial.


• Finally, the list to date ends with the case that is just beginning, the shooting of Dr. Rachael Maidens.

Last week her husband and alleged killer, Randolph Maidens, began his journey through the judicial system and as Brentwood’s latest most notorious resident.



11 Comments on this post:

By: BenDover on 5/6/13 at 9:00

Meh... new money.

By: NewYorker1 on 5/6/13 at 12:42

See, Brentwood is no better than North and East Nashville, or Antioch. Brentwood citizens are only one or two generations out of the trailer parks and/or projects. All they are now are hood rats with an expensive address. LOL...

By: govskeptic on 5/7/13 at 6:36

NewYorker- You are so wrong in that statement of jealously.

By: GrantHammond on 5/7/13 at 8:11

It says a lot about Brentwood that you can recap the entire city's history of homicide in one 970 word article. Try doing that for Antioch or Bellevue or East Nashville.

By: Rasputin72 on 5/7/13 at 8:42

8 homicides in Brentwood history. The undetrclass citizenry in Davidson county will coup that many this week.

By: NewYorker1 on 5/7/13 at 9:06

govskeptic, I assure you, I'm far from jealous. I have a home in Greenhills that can rival any home in Brentwood. Furthermore, the price of homes here are very cheap compared to New York. What you guys consider expensive in Nashville is on the lower end of expensive in New York. LOL…

By: Kelliente on 5/7/13 at 9:40

Buncha asshats commenting on this article. Who throws their money in people's faces? Who uses the term "underclass"? Who ends all their sentences with "LOL"? Gross.

By: NewYorker1 on 5/7/13 at 10:25

Kelliente, read this several times to that you can fully understand the quote.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, then change your attitude. Don't complain."
-- Maya Angelou

By: hattrick3 on 5/7/13 at 2:41

NewYorker1 - Yet your broke self lives in Nashville and not New York. Greenhills???? Isn't that the place that wanna be Belle Meade residents live? Thought so.

By: NewYorker1 on 5/7/13 at 2:50

hattrick3, I’m here expanding my business in the music industry. Once it can operate without my being here, I will be moving back to New York. Don’t hate.

By: hattrick3 on 5/7/13 at 10:44

so you're in the music industry, they are a dime a dozen around here.