Mom of newborn baby fatally shoots Army sergeant husband, father of three, days after he filed restraining order against her

A Fort Benning soldier is dead and his wife has been arrested following a fatal shooting in Alabama.

WTVM reports that Brandyn Lloyd Paonessa, a 26-year old Army sergeant, was found with a gunshot to the abdomen on Thursday in the front yard of a property in Phenix City. Emergency responders reportedly administered lifesaving treatment, but he was ultimately pronounced dead.

Brittnay Ryals Paonessa, 27, has been arrested and charged with her husband’s murder. According to, the couple has 3 children together, including a 2-month-old baby, and Brittnay had a child from a previous relationship. 

Court records obtained by the news station show that the victim had filed for an emergency protection from abuse order against the suspect just three days before he was fatally shot. According to the filings, Brandyn Paonessa said that his wife was “very unstable” and “very mentally ill” and that she had refused treatment at a mental health rehabilitation center.

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The suspect had allegedly “ran a truck into the house 3 feet from our children,” according to the court filing. obtained additional court records showing that Brandyn Paonessa was arrested last year on a domestic violence charge, after he allegedly punched his wife in the stomach. According to the report, the alleged assault came after Brittnay reportedly went through his cellphone, and the charges against her husband were dropped at her request.

Fort Benning officials confirmed Paonessa’s in a statement obtained by WTVM:

“The Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Sgt. Brandyn Lloyd Paonessa, 26, of Smith’s Station, Alabama,” the statement reads.

“Paonessa was assigned to Task Force 1-28, 3rd Infantry Division. He died June 13 in Lee County, Alabama. Paonessa, an infantryman (11B), joined the Army in September 2013 and had two overseas combat deployments to Afghanistan. The cause of his death remains under investigation.”

According to, Brittnay Paonessa is in custody at the Lee County Detention Facility and is being held on $150,000 bond.

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