[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
A concert pianist who graduated from Juilliard is facing murder charges after allegedly stabbing a woman to death in her South Carolina home last month.
According to Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis, Zachary David Hughes (above) was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the October slaying of Christina Larain Parcell. He said at a Thursday press conference:
“It was a very brutal crime scene.”
Lewis said officers were dispatched to 122 Canebrake Drive in Greer on October 13 after a 41-year-old woman, who has since been identified as Parcell, was found dead in the home by someone who knew her. Lewis said the vet tech had been “brutally stabbed multiple times,” adding:
“She was certainly murdered in a very violent way.”
The sheriff went on to explain that officials “discovered physical evidence that linked Hughes to the crime” during their investigation, which “ultimately led investigators to believe him to be the person responsible” for Parcell’s death.
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However, many questions still remain. Detectives still haven’t found a motive and don’t even know if the victim and 29-year-old suspect knew each other. Lewis did say, though, that the killing was “definitely targeted” and not random. He explained:
“We believe he was very specific in going to that home for that reason. It was very intentional for sure. We don’t know why.”
The sheriff also noted that “there could be other people involved,” and said more charges are possible. Hughes was charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime.
The pianist has performed all over the world. According to his website, he moved to Greenville as part of a museum project “to create live video recordings of the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas on both modern instruments… as well as historical instruments from Beethoven’s day.” He’s currently being held at the Greenville County Law Enforcement Center in lieu of a bond.
Meanwhile, friends and colleagues of Parcell, who reportedly leaves behind a young daughter, are mourning the tragedy. The Foothills Veterinary Hospital, where the victim worked for the last three years, posted a tribute on its Facebook page last month, saying in part:
“We will all miss her more than words can express. She was not just our co-worker but our dear friend as well.”
Loved ones memorialized Parcell in the comments section of the post, writing:
“She had such a positive spirit. I am at shock that someone would hurt such a beautiful soul. Praying for her family and her sweet babygirl!”
“Prayers for everyone. Christina spoiled every animal with love and care. She will be greatly missed.”
The hospital established a memorial fund for Parcell’s daughter and family.
As for the case, police say the investigation is ongoing.
[Image via Greenville County Sheriff’s Office]