HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. - A 15-year-old Hendersonville boy is facing murder charges after confessing to killing his mother and allegedly attempting to burn their home, police said.
The suspect's 16-year-old brother woke up to a smoke alarm and fire at the family's home early Saturday morning and found his mother dead, according to WTVF-TV. The woman, Melanie Davis, had apparently been beaten to death.
Sheriff Sonny Weatherford said authorities arrested the 15-year-old nearby and he later confessed to killing Davis. Weatherford said the boy seemed to show little remorse.
"He ... had a smile occasionally about some of the statements he made," Weatherford said.
Davis's friend Tanya Porter said she was "shocked and devastated" by what happened.
"Something snapped," Porter said. "Something went terribly wrong in her house."
Investigators have not released a motive. But they said the 15-year-old has been charged with criminal homicide, and more charges could be forthcoming. Authorities believe he started the fire, which did not significantly damage the home.
It hasn't been determined whether the teen will be charged as a juvenile or an adult. The sheriff did not release his name.
Weatherford said Davis was from Austria. Her husband died years earlier.
"My heart just really grieves for her," Porter said. "I just can't imagine because I know how much she went through when her husband passed away and how she has survived."
Officials said neighbors are taking care of the 16-year-old until family arrives from out of town.
"He is doing as well as we can expect him to be," said Weatherford of the older brother. "His mother is a victim now (and) it's caused by his younger brother. He's kind of destroyed."