Mississippi man shoots wife and two friends at birthday party because they wouldn't let him drive home drunk
30-year-old Michael Barnhill has been charged with three counts of homicide and two counts of attempted murder and is currently awaiting trial at the Carroll County Jail
A Mississippi man allegedly shot and killed his wife and two of his friends after they wouldn't let him drive home drunk. The 30-year-old, Michael Martin Barnhill, went on a rampage this past Friday, March 1, after celebrating his wife's 27th birthday at a friend's home in Carroll County.
The victims were identified as his wife Marlee Barnhill and friends Brooks Harrell and Jim Harrell. A 10-year-old boy and two other women, Mauri Suggs and Amber Garrard, who were also present at the residence were unharmed in the shooting.
According to the Jackson Clarion Ledger, Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker described the evening's events in a statement and wrote that Barnhill became "drunk and belligerent" through the course of the party and that he was "combative" when the others tried to discourage his behavior.
To ensure her husband wouldn't drive away, Marlee took away the keys to the truck. Angered, the 30-year-old went out to the vehicle and returned with a .40 caliber, Walker wrote. He then slapped a cigarette out of his wife's hands and shot her in the chest.
When Jim tried to defend Marlee, Barnhill shot him as well. Brooks then tried to intervene and help her husband and friend, but ended up getting gunned down too.
Suggs and Garrard rushed upstairs to protect the 10-year-old boy, who was asleep in a bed, and barricaded themselves in a closet with the child.
When deputies from the Carroll County Sheriff's Office arrived at the scene, they found that Marlee and Jim had already died. Brooks, who was severely injured in the shooting, died on the way to a helicopter which was arranged to transport her to a hospital in Jackson.
Barnhill had fled the scene by the time officers responded to the residence, said Walker. However, he later returned "acting as though he did not know what happened," with the surviving witnesses immediately telling deputies that he was the one who had killed the victims.
It was reported that the 30-year-old subsequently tried to flee, but was subdued after deputies used a taser on him. The Mississipi Bureau of Investigations and the State Crime Scene Unit were called to process the crime scene and interview witnesses.
Walker admitted it was unclear what caused Barnhill to snap. "We may never know why Barnhill perpetrated this horrible crime," he said.
"None of the victims or survivors were doing anything other than having a small get-together to celebrate Marlee's birthday. According to our preliminary investigation, there were no drugs involved, and very little drinking other than that done by Michael Barnhill to excess."
Barnhill has been charged with three counts of homicide and two counts of attempted murder and is being held without bond at the Carroll Montgomery Regional Correctional Facility until his trial.
A Mississippi woman, Marlee Jones Barnhill, didn't want her husband to drive after he got drunk at her birthday party, so she took away his keys. Police say Michael Barnhill went and got his gun and fatally shot his wife and two of her friends: https://t.co/WnVQ49pYpX pic.twitter.com/JaDLNjLa08— Tom Cleary (@tomwcleary) March 8, 2019