Greene County man gets 30 years for killing father

Zachary Thomas Blanchard

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Just before jury selection was set to begin for his trial, a young man pleaded guilty to killing his father.

Zachary Blanchard, 18, was sentenced to 30 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder, according to the Greene County Clerk’s Office. Robert Blanchard, 36, was found dead in his home in April 2014 from a gunshot wound.

That same day, Zachary Blanchard, along with Liam Lawlor, Daniel Birchfield-Richards and Shelby Riley, sparked a manhunt that ended in Newberry County, S.C., where the teens were arrested. They were apparently headed for Myrtle Beach.

Blanchard was charged as an adult with first-degree murder. Police said the other teens joined him after the shooting. Their cases were handled in juvenile court. Police said he took his father’s van, money, several guns and ammunition.

Birchfield-Richards was originally charged with first-degree murder, but the state dropped the charge as part of a plea agreement that said the teen could remain in the custody of a juvenile facility until he turns 19 years old. He also previously pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and theft over $1,000. Lawlor and Riley were sentenced earlier in juvenile court on charges of accessory after the fact and theft.

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