A Mississippi man is accused of fatally shooting three people—including his wife—during his wife’s birthday party on Friday night.
Michael Martin Barnhill, 30, is facing three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder for a shootout that left Marlee Barnhill, Brooks Harrell, and Jim Harrell dead at the Harrells’ Carroll County home shortly before midnight. Friends had gathered at the couple’s residence to celebrate Marlee’s upcoming 27th birthday, according to the Clarion Ledger.
In a statement issued to the Taxpayers Channel, Carroll County Sheriff Clint Walker said Michael became intoxicated and belligerent during the party, which continued throughout the night despite other attendees’ objections. He said the night of karaoke turned deadly when Michael attempted to drive drunk and Marlee, who was in possession of the keys, stopped him from doing so.
Moments later, Martin allegedly went to the truck and retrieved a .40 caliber pistol before slapping a cigarette from his wife’s hand and abruptly shooting her in the chest. Martin allegedly then shot Jim as he attempted to protect Marlee—and opened fire on Brooks as she tried to help her husband and Marlee.
“The Harrells were trying to do the right thing by coming to Marlee’s aid,” Walker said in the statement.
Walker claimed two partygoers, Mauri Suggs and Amber Garrard, ran upstairs to protect the Harrells’ 10-year-old son, who was sleeping in his bed at the time. Police said the pair protected him until help arrived.
“They locked and barricaded themselves and the child in a closet,” he commented.
“They were doing the right thing by protecting a defenseless child.”
Walker alleged Michael wasn’t at the scene when officers arrived but returned “acting as though he did not know what had happened.” Witnesses reportedly informed them that he killed the Harrells and his wife. Martin was taken into custody following a brief struggle with officers which entailed them using a stun gun, he said.
Marlee and Jim reportedly died at the scene while Brooks died while en route to the hospital.
Walker said drugs weren’t involved in the shooting and partygoers, aside from Martin, had drunk very little that night.
“Each victim of this crime acted out of care and concern for the welfare of others,” the sheriff offered.
“Marlee tried to keep Michael Barnhill and those he might come into contact with safe by preventing him driving drunk. Jim Harrell acted in defense of Marlee. Brooks Harrell tried to render aid to her husband. Mauri Suggs and Amber Garrard acted to protect a defenseless child, and to warn the deputies of the danger they were facing.”
Marlee reportedly ran “Get Glamourous with Marlee,” a Facebook page where she sold Younique makeup and connected with her 1,200 followers. Before heading to the celebration, the 26-year-old hosted a livestream where she expressed excitement about her upcoming birthday and mentioned her plans to see Brooks later that night.
Near the end of the hourlong video, Marlee can be heard telling her husband to “put the dogs up,” presumably because they were heading to her birthday party.
“I hope you all have a great Friday night,” she says in the last seconds of her livestream.
“I hope you all have a great night, whatever you’re doing, we’re gonna be safe. And I’ll talk to you later.”
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
[Featured image: Marlee Barnhill, Brooks and Jim Harrell/Carroll County Sheriff’s Office]