UPDATE: Cape May County connection to slaying of Johnny Cash's niece

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A man charged in the slaying of Courtney Cash, Johnny Cash’s niece, is from Cape May County, officials said Friday. Officials said they suspect the murder is drug-related.

Wayne Masciarella, 27, who was charged with first degree murder, is being held in Tennessee's Putnam County Jail without bond after facing a judge this morning, Putnam County Sherrif David K. Andrews said Friday afternoon.

According to Andrews, Masciarella's place of birth is listed as Cape May.

Andrews said that Cash was stabbed to death, and that her body was found in a small, white pine chest at a home Cookeville, Tenn., about 70 miles east of Nashville.

Masciarella was also charged with the stabbing of Cash's boyfriend, William Austin Johnson. He survived the stabbing and was listed in stable condition, the sheriff said.

Andrews said that Masciarella apparently had an argument with the couple before he allegedly stabbed them both. Johnson’s baby daughter was uninjured.

"We believe the murder may be drug-related," Andrews said. "We strongly suspect meth was the reason. Unfortunately, meth is a hot item in this area."

Little information about Masciarella was immediately available. A Facebook account under that name, with a photo that resembles the accused, identifies Masciarella as being from North Cape May and a graduate of Cookeville High School, which would indicate that he moved to Tennessee some time ago.

There was also a post from Jan. 3, 2010, in which he laments "and I get locked up again."

The case is receiving extensive national attention because of the victim’s connection to Johnny Cash, and the grisly details of the slaying.


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