CARROLL COUNTY, Miss. – Police in Mississippi say a man fatally shot his wife and two friends after his wife tried to stop him from driving drunk at her birthday party last week.
Michael Barnhill, 30, is charged with three counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Investigators said it was just before midnight when Michael Barnhill shot his wife Marlee Barnhill, along with the couple's friends Brooks Harrell, 39, and Jim Harrell, 44.
Michael Barnhill was celebrating his wife's upcoming 27th birthday at the Harrells' home on March 1 when he became drunk and belligerent, according to Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker. He reportedly became "angry and combative" over the course of the night. Marlee Barnhill kept the keys to their truck to prevent her husband from driving in his drunken state, Walker said.
"Marlee was trying to do the right thing to protect his life and the lives of other drivers," the sheriff told the Clarion Ledger.
Michael, angry that the keys had been taken away, went to the truck and returned with a .40 caliber pistol, the sheriff said. He then reportedly slapped a cigarette from his wife's hand and shot her in the chest.
Jim and Brooks Harrell tried to defend Marlee, but they were also shot by Michael, according to the sheriff. Two other women at the party then reportedly ran upstairs to protect the Harrells' 10-year-old child, who was asleep in a bed. They hid themselves in a locked closet with the child, the sheriff said.
Deputies said that when they arrived, they found Marlee Barnhill and Jim Harrell dead. Brooks Harrell was severely injured, but died while being transported to a helicopter to take her to the hospital, according to the sheriff.
Michael Barnhill was not at the home when deputies arrived, but returned later "acting as though he did not know what had happened," the sheriff said. Deputies said they were told by surviving witnesses that Michael was the one who killed their friends.
Michael tried to flee, but deputies used a taser to subdue him after a brief struggle, according to the sheriff.
Hours before the party, Marlee Barnhill had live streamed a nearly hour-long video to her Facebook page, Get Glamourous with Marlee, where she showed herself doing makeup, selling beauty products and talking about her life.
Marlee wrote in the video description, "Happy March 1!!!! New month, New Goals, and my BIRTHDAY MONTH!"
Happy March 1!!!! New month, New Goals, and my BIRTHDAY MONTH! Shares are appreciated ❤️🤪Posted by Get Glamorous with Marlee on Friday, March 1, 2019
Michael Barnhill was denied bond and remains in the Carroll County Jail.