Vet Tech Is 'Brutally Stabbed' to Death in Her S.C. Home, Suspect Is Juilliard-Trained Concert Pianist

Pianist Zachary David Hughes, 29, is charged with murder in connection with the stabbing death of 41-year-old Christina Parcell

Christina Parcell
Christina Parcell. Photo: Facebook

A Juilliard-trained concert pianist who has performed all over the world faces murder charges after being accused of stabbing a vet tech to death in her South Carolina home last month, say police.

On Wednesday, Zachary David Hughes, 29, of Greenville, was arrested in connection with the October slaying of Christina Larain Parcell, 41, of Greer, Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis announced at a press conference Thursday.

"It was a very brutal crime scene," Lewis said.

Zachary David Hughes
Zachary David Hughes. Greenville County Sheriff's Office

On Oct. 13, shortly after 11 a.m., deputies were dispatched to 122 Canebrake Drive in Greer after a woman, since identified as Parcell, was found deceased inside the home by someone familiar with her, Lewis said.

Parcell had been "brutally stabbed multiple times," he said, adding that she leaves behind a young daughter.

During their investigation, investigators "discovered physical evidence that linked Hughes to the crime," said Lewis, "and ultimately led investigators to believe him to be the person responsible" for Parcell's death, he said.

On Wednesday, Hughes turned himself into the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.

He was arrested and charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, Lewis said.

The killing was "definitely targeted," Lewis said. "It was more than obvious that he intended to kill her and he went over there to kill her."

Lewis added, "We still do not have a motive for the killing, nor do we know the relationship between Hughes and the victim."

"Whether or not they knew each other is still unclear," he said.

On his website, Hughes said he graduated from the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City, a performing arts conservatory. He said he had performed "throughout the United States, Canada, U.K., France, Germany, and Japan."

Hughes is being held at the Greenville County Law Enforcement Center in lieu of a bond.

Hughes' attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

Parcell Was Animal Lover and 'Beautiful Soul'

Parcell worked for the last three years at Foothills Veterinary Hospital in Greenville, which posted a tribute on its Facebook page on Oct. 15, 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."

One woman 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," another well-wisher wrote. "Christina spoiled every animal with love and care. She will be greatly missed."

Foothills Veterinary Hospital established a memorial fund for Parcell's daughter and family.

The investigation is ongoing, say authorities.

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