Man accused of Brentwood homicide was having ‘nervous breakdown,’ wife says

Man accused of Brentwood homicide was having ‘nervous breakdown,’ wife says


The wife of a man accused of stabbing his father to death told a police dispatcher her husband was having a “nervous breakdown,” according to a 911 call released Thursday.

The wife of a man accused of stabbing his father to death told a police dispatcher her husband was having a nervous breakdown, according to a 911 call released Thursday.

Kristin Cantrell told the dispatcher she walked in the door of her father-in-law’s Brentwood house at 5212 Heathrow Hills Drive to find “blood everywhere” and a kitchen knife beside him. She said her husband, Daniel Cantrell, was the only other person at the home.

“He’s having a nervous breakdown,” she said. “I don’t really know what’s going on.”

Brentwood police arrested Daniel Cantrell Wednesday night and charged him Thursday with criminal homicide for the stabbing death of his father, Oliver Cantrell. He is being held at the Williamson County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Daniel Cantrell

Neighbors said Oliver Cantrell was a retired architect and his wife, Deborah, a retired attorney.

Kristen Coller, who lives on a Center Ridge Court home directly behind the Cantrells in Brentwood, said she heard a woman yelling on the deck of the home Wednesday evening.

“Within 15 minutes of that ! the ambulances came and I was praying that they would not go to that house,” she said.

The 911 call from Kristin Cantrell came in at 6:58 p.m. As she was on the phone, she said her mother-in-law, Deborah Cantrell, pulled up. Kristin Cantrell attempted CPR on Oliver Cantrell until police and firefighters arrived. She told the dispatcher he had been stabbed near the heart.

A blue tarp still covered the front door and glass sides of the entrance to the home Thursday afternoon. Police say Oliver Cantrell was found just inside the home’s foyer. 

‘A good neighbor’

Daniel and Kristin Cantrell bought their home last July in the Carlisle subdivision of Franklin, a small, gated community. The couple had a view of a pond with a fountain across from their 1337 Barkleigh Lane home.

A man and a woman left the home in a sports utility vehicle as they were approached by a reporter Thursday. The man said, “No,” as he got into his the vehicle. No one answered the door after the pair left. Easter decorations punctuated the small front yard of the courtyard home. A red Corvette with a University of Alabama license plate was parked out front.

Next-door neighbor Ken Sidwell called Daniel Cantrell a “computer guru” who helped he and his wife with their own computer.

 Raw Audio: 911 call from 5212 Heathrow Hills Dr. (WARNING: Some readers may find this content disturbing)

“To say I’m shocked would be an understatement,” he said. “He seemed like an all-American boy.”

Sidwell didn’t see any unusual activity at the home prior to Cantrell’s arrest.

“This is out of the blue,” he said. “We wouldn’t have thought that in any way he’d do what he’s accused of. He was a good neighbor.”

Those who knew the Cantrells described both father and son as people who seemed to make a good impression wherever they went.

A graduate of Baylor University with a degree in computer science, Daniel Cantrell had worked on the Lifeway help desk at the same time his father was still an architect with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Nashville-based publishing company. He was most recently employed at Franklin-based Journal Communications, a custom publisher.

Representatives for LifeWay and Journal Communications declined to comment Thursday.

Carol Penn-Romine, a family friend who had known Oliver Cantrell since childhood, called him “one of the best people I have ever had the privilege to know.”

The Brentwood subdivision where Oliver Cantrell lived with his wife is not one where sirens are typically heard. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are among the Cantrells’ former neighbors.

Gail Bonnaire, who lived next door to the Cantrells for nearly 20 years said there were “no signs that something was wrong” at the Heathrow Hills home.

Oliver Cantrell

“They were a nice couple,” she said. “And Daniel was such a sweet boy. I just can’t believe this.”

A former Lifeway colleague said the father and son were members of a family that seemed to enjoy being together.

“(Oliver) loved those two boys so much,” the former co-worker said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the company instructed its employees not to discuss the case.

The co-worker described Daniel Cantrell as “very humble, very quiet, a people pleaser ! not someone you would look at and think had any violent tendencies.

“All indications were that they were the perfect family.”

Daniel Cantrell’s first court date has been set for April 17.

BrentWord Communications Editor Susan Leathers contributed to this report.  Sarah Kingsbury covers Franklin for BrentWord Communications. Contact her at Jonathan Romeo covers Brentwood for BrentWord Communications. Contact him at

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