New details on the murder of an East Texas mother

By Jena Johnson - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Melissa Barnhill was killed at her Nacogdoches home while she prepared dinner for her two children. A gunman, outside the home, fired through Melissa's kitchen window, killing her in front of her children.

We spoke with members of the Barnhill family. They believe more should have been done to protect Melissa.

"The police have to learn how to take action faster to prevent this," said Luke Barnhill, Melissa and Kyle Barnhill's nephew. "I know have seen two or three time on different occasions, and this time someone ends up dead."

The Barnhill family believes Melissa Barnhill needed protection, especially after her estranged husband Kyle was arrested on February 11th for harassing and threatening his wife. Two days after Kyle Barnhill's arrest, Melissa Barnhill went to court to get a restraining order against her husband. The judge granted it, finding a clear and present danger to Melissa and her children. The judge ordered Barnhill to stay away from the family and surrender his license to carry a concealed weapon.

"It doesn't do anything once it's broken and there was a protective order in this case and who knows if it helped or not," said their nephew. "I don't think so."

The Barnhill family had a falling out with Kyle some time back and they supported Melissa as she sought a divorce. They do not want to talk directly about Kyle right now, but they have plenty to say about Melissa.

"[She was a] sweet, beautiful, lovely lady (and) everyone I knew loved her," said her nephew. "All the people that worked with her in her life say she was a hard worker and I know she was."

At Melissa's home today, we got our first look at the back yard, were someone likely hid, and waited and fired a perfect shot at Melissa through her kitchen window. She died on her kitchen floor, with her children watching... Helpless. Melissa's pastor dropped by the home today to get some clothing for the two daughters, ages 3 & 10. (sot) girls wipe (sot)Melissa for the three weeks they lived her, Melissa and her daughters set out to make a new life together. That dream ended, 48 hours ago, with one single gunshot.

"Her oldest daughter, she wrote an essay about her mother because she was supposed to write about who her hero was and we were very moved by that," said Pastor Randy Booth, Melissa's Pastor. "Our last memory of Melissa was that we had her over for dinner last Sunday, my wife and I had a long and great visit with her and this came as a great shock and surprise."

Although Nacogdoches police have questioned Kyle Barnhill. He has not been charged with any crime. In fact, so far, police have not named a suspect in this case.