Marlee Jones Barnhill posted a Facebook Live video about her excitement for her birthday party
Marlee Jones Barnhill was looking forward to celebrating her 27th birthday with friends and family Friday night.
“Tonight I’m going to one of my really good friend’s houses,” the Mississippi resident said on a Facebook Live video she uploaded while getting ready for the party. “We’re going to karaoke, and sit on her back porch and just hang out.”
But the evening’s celebration turned into a night of horror when Marlee’s husband, Michael, allegedly opened fire on the party in a fit of drunken rage, killing Marlee and her two friends, husband and wife Jim and Brooks Harrell.
According to a statement from Caroll County Sheriff Clint Walker, Michael Barnhill was allegedly drunk at the party and Marlee, in an attempt to prevent her husband from driving, kept their truck’s keys from her husband.
“Marlee was trying to do the right thing to protect his life and the lives of other drivers,” Walker said.
Angry at his wife, Barnhill allegedly grabbed a .40 caliber pistol from his vehicle and returned to the party before slapping a cigarette out of his wife’s hand and shooting her in the chest. As friends tried to help her, Barnhill allegedly continued to fire, shooting Jim Harrell and then Harrell’s wife, Brooks Harrell, as she tried to assist her husband.
Two other women at the party ran to a nearby bedroom where a child was sleeping and barricaded themselves inside.
Barnhill allegedly fled the scene.
“We may never know why Barnhill perpetrated this horrible crime. 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,” Walker said in the statement.
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Walker said Jim Harrell and Marlee were found dead at the scene. Brooks Harrell died while being transported in a helicopter to a hospital.
When Barnhill returned to the home after deputies arrived, he acted “as though he did not know what had happened,” Walker said in the statement. But after witnesses told deputies what had occurred, Barnhill allegedly attempted to flee again before deputies subdued him using a Taser and took him into custody.
“Each victim of this crime acted out of care and concern for the welfare of others,” Walker said in the statement.
Marlee ran a Facebook page called “Get Glamorous with Marlee.” Since her death last week, friends, family and followers have left comments on her videos paying their respects.
“My sweet cousin you didn’t know this would be your last live!” one relative commented on Marlee’s last video posted the day she died. “I am coping the best way I can, I love you so much…See you in heaven baby girl. I miss you so much.”
Before signing off for her birthday, Marlee can be seen in her last video telling viewers, “I hope y’all have a great night, be safe whatever you’re doing, we’re gonna be safe, and I will talk to y’all later!”
Barnhill appeared in court Monday. He is charged with three counts of homicide and two counts of attempted murder, Walker said. He is being held without bond. It is unclear whether he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.