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Sheriff Says Wife ‘Was Trying to Do the Right Thing’ After Husband Shoots Her for Not Letting Him Drive Drunk

Screenshot/ @Tomwcleary

A Mississippi man is facing several charges after he reportedly killed his wife and the couple, who was hosting her birthday party, for not letting him drive drunk.

WBAL11 reports that a drunken Michael Barnhill, 30, became enraged on March 1, the night before his wife’s 27th birthday.

Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker says that, during the gathering, Barnhill’s wife, Marlee Barnhill, was holding the keys to their truck “to prevent him from driving away in his drunken state.”

Following Barnhill court appearance on Monday, Walker said in a statement:

These were all good friends having a nice time together. Michael Barnhill, however, became drunk and belligerent during the course of the evening. The others discouraged his drunkenness, and he became angry and combative.

The sheriff reports that after he became angry with his wife, Barnhill went and got a pistol from their vehicle. He came back into the home, slapped a cigarette from his wife’s hand, and shot her in the chest.

As the Clarion Ledger reports, State Representative Karl Oliver says he has known Marlee since she was a child.

Oliver said:

“She was just a young lady who dedicated her life to helping others. She had a sweet personality, just a precious soul.”

After shooting Marlee, Barnhill then shot Marlee’s friends Jim Harrell, 44, and his wife Brooks Harrell, 39.

The Harrells’ 10-year-old son was asleep upstairs in the home when two other women, who were also in the home, went to protect him.

After the shooting, Walker says Barnhill fled the scene.

WBAL11 reports that Marlee and Jim died inside the home. Brooks died as first responders tried to transport to a helicopter that would take her to a local hospital.

Later, Barnhill returned to the home. When he encountered officers, he pretended not to have any knowledge of what occurred. However, witnesses identified him as the shooter.

Sheriff Walker acknowledged Marlee for her courage and attempt at a good deed.

He said:

Marlee was trying to do the right thing to protect his life and the lives of other drivers.

Marlee’s employer also wrote a touching post on Facebook about her kind heart.

The THMH Family will forever be grateful for the precious time we had with Marlee Barnhill . There are no words to…

Posted by Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital wrote in part:

Marlee’s smile was infectious. She touched the lives of her patients and coworkers with kindness and joy that will never be forgotten.

WBAL11 reports that Michael has been charged with three counts of homicide and two counts of attempted murder.

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