EXCLUSIVE: Barnhill tells KTRE reporter he killed wife

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

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A man accused in the death of his wife told a KTRE reporter he is the lone person responsible for her death.

Kyle Barnhill spoke out for the first time since his arrest. He's the prime suspect, charged with first degree murder in connection with the death of his wife, Melissa Barnhill. Barnhill contacted KTRE requesting an interview.

Below is a transcript of the conversation between KTRE reporter Jena Johnson and Barnhill.

Johnson: "Did you kill Melissa Barnhill or have anything to do with her death?"

Barnhill: "Yes, I did...But if any act of violence from a personal note...Uh, I was not in my right mind and I truly believe the insanity defense will be totally [applicable] and my mental state of mind is not good now."

Johnson: "But was there anyone else that was involved in the death of Melissa Barnhill besides yourself?"

Barnhill: "No."

Johnson: "How long did it take you to plan this out?"

Barnhill: "There was really not a lot of planning to it."

Johnson: "Where did you get the gun from? Where is the gun now?"

Barnhill: "I had gotten it earlier that evening

Johnson: "Have you confessed to anyone else, like the D.A., Nicole Lostracco?"

Barnhill: "Uh, No. No."

Johnson: "What about your two little girls? Now, you have taken away their mother and they are left without their parents. How do you feel about that?"

Barnhill: "I feel horrible about it. How do you think I would feel? It's a tragedy anyway you cut it."

Barnhill: "You know those two little girls, I'm sure are frightened for their future."

Johnson: "I have another question for you. Whenever you were in the woods and you were about to shoot your wife as you just told me, did you see your children?"

Barnhill: "No. No."

Johnson: "If you would have seen them, would you have changed your mind?"

Barnhill: "I've actually thought about that and Jena, you know, I'm going to tell the truth."

Barnhill: "Uh, it is my Christian obligation to do that. And, um, I honestly can't tell you in my state of mind whether that would have made a difference. I would like to think that it would have."

Background information:

On the evening of Wednesday March 11, phone calls poured in after a single gunshot blasted through the usually quiet street of King's Row Drive.

"I heard loud gunshots that sounded like a rifle or a shotgun," Neighbor Jerry Sparks said.

Nacogdoches police responded, but it was too late. Melissa Barnhill died from a gunshot to the neck fired through her kitchen window as she prepared dinner for her two small daughters. She died on her kitchen floor with her two little girls, watching, helpless.

Four days went by without police naming a suspect. In the meantime, KTRE obtained court documents showing Melissa and Kyle were in the midst of a nasty divorce. A Nacogdoches judge had issued a protective order, finding a clear and present danger to Melissa and her children. Melissa showed the court threatening text messages Kyle had sent her, like this one:

"We need to talk about [and] decide who would raise our kids in the event of the unthinkable. Stupid not to have arranged that."

The judge ordered Barnhill to stay away from the family and surrender his license to carry a concealed weapon. The Barnhill family had a falling out with Kyle some time back and they supported Melissa as she sought a divorce.

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

Police questioned Kyle Barnhill, but still no suspect or arrest was made. On the night of Melissa Barnhill's murder, Kyle's long-time friend Emmet Luman picked him up from the Nacogdoches police station.

"I went up and got him, carried him home and he took a shower and went to bed," Luman said. "He had been up most of the night and was scratched-up and said he had been robbed that night."

Luman let Barnhill spend the night at his house and even loaned him his car the next morning.

On the day of Melissa's funeral, nearly 500 miles away in Eagle Pass, near the Mexico border, Kyle Barnhill was arrested for her murder. In shackles and handcuffs, local law enforcement returned Kyle Barnhill to East Texas.

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