NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Melissa Barnhill was killed at her Nacogdoches home while she prepared dinner for her two small children. A gunman, outside the home in her backyard, 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 did not want to talk directly about Kyle on Friday, but they had 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 on Friday to get some clothing for the two daughters, ages three and ten.
For the three weeks they lived there, 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."