Michael Barnhill (above), 30, was arrested last week after police say he shot and killed his wife and two friends in a drunken birthday dispute in Winona
A Mississippi man was arrested last week after allegedly shooting dead his wife and two friends at her birthday party when they tried to stop him from driving drunk.
Michael Barnhill, 30, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted homicide, authorities revealed.
Family friends Jim and Brooks Harrell had been hosting a karaoke party in Winona for the defendant’s wife Marlee Barnhill, on March 1 – but the 27th birthday celebration would end in a bloodbath.
According to Carroll County Sheriffs, Michael had started the night in good spirits, but as the evening went on he became increasingly drunk and belligerent, before a rage descended.
Police say party-goers tried to discourage Michael’s drunken antics, causing him to become ‘angry and combative’.
Marlee Barnhill (left) had been celebrating turning 27 on March 1, when her husband Michael (right) became drunk and aggressive, police say
Family friends Jim and Brooks Harrell (pictured) were hosting a karaoke party for Marlee at their home, when an argument broke out and Michael attempted to drive home drunk
Michael is then said to have stormed out the party and asked Marlee to hand over the keys to their truck, which she refused to do.
Incensed, the defendant allegedly went out to the unlocked vehicle and returned to the party clutching a .40 caliber pistol.
He then reportedly approached his wife, aggressively slapped a cigarette from her hand, and shot her in the chest from close range.
Attempting to protect Marlee, party co-host Jim Harrell was also shot by Michael, police say.
Rushing to attend to her husband, a third shot was discharged and struck Brooks.
The other two women at the party ran to protect the Harrells’ 10-year-old son, who was asleep upstairs. They locked the child in the closet, barricaded themselves in the bedroom, and dialed 911.
Police arrived to find Marlee and Jim dead at the scene. Brooks was airlifted to hospital but died in transit.
Michael Barnhill was reportedly nowhere to be seen. Officers say he returned to the property later that evening, claiming as though he ‘didn’t know what had happened.’
The two surviving witnesses reportedly identified him as the killer. Police say he then attempted to flee but was subdued by a taser gun and was taken into custody.
The suspect is said to have gone out to the unlocked vehicle and fetched a .40 caliber pistol. He returned to the party and shot his wife in the chest
Jim Harrell (right) attempted to protect her but was shot dead, shortly followed by Brooks. Two other guests ran upstairs to protect the Harrell’s sleeping 10-year-old son
‘These were all good friends having a nice time together,’ Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker in a statement.
‘Marlee was trying to do the right thing to protect his life and the lives of other drivers.’
Just hours before the party, Marlee had posted a video to Facebook exclaiming how excited she was for the evening ahead.
‘Happy March 1!!!! New month, New Goals, and my BIRTHDAY MONTH!,’ she posted.
Michael Barnhill remains in custody in Carroll Montgomery Regional Correctional Facility without bond.