Nacogdoches DA not surprised by confession

Nicole LoStracco, Nacogdoches County District Attorney
Nicole LoStracco, Nacogdoches County District Attorney
Kyle Barnhill, charged with murder in connection with wife's death, Melissa Barnhill.
Kyle Barnhill, charged with murder in connection with wife's death, Melissa Barnhill.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches County district attorney said she was not surprised by Kyle Barnhill's confession to killing his wife.

Nicole LoStracco said in a press release that the confession should strengthen the case against Barnhill.

"But ultimately the evidence would have spoken for itself without the existence of any confession," LoStracco stated in the statement.

LoStracco also stated she had seen all the evidence and the confession was Barnhill admitting to "that which we know he's done."

Barnhill's attorney, Bill Agnew, issued a statement protesting the interview:

"As attorney who is representing Mr. Kyle Barnhill, I am both shocked and disgusted that KTRE made no attempt to contact me at any time prior to speaking with Mr. Barnhill or running his interview on the news.  Mr. Barnhill is obviously suffering from mental illness and for KTRE to speak with him without first contacting his legal representative is very disheartening to me.  As one of many people who defend the values and rights granted to all citizens of the United States, I think KTRE's interview is a sad indictment on the level of journalistic responsibility that currently exists in our country.  I will no have further comment on this matter."

Kenny Boles, news director for KTRE, issued a statement answering Agnew's claims:

"Mr. Barnhill reached out to KTRE to tell his story. It took us five days to exchange correspondence with Mr. Barnhill and arrange for the interview. During the interview, KTRE asked Mr. Barnhill to provide his attorney's name. Mr. Barnhill gave us the wrong name of his legal counsel.  Based on that misinformation, KTRE tried but was unable to contact the appropriate attorney. As far as the claim that Mr. Barnhill is suffering from mental illness, we are not qualified to make that judgment. In our communication with Mr. Barnhill, he appeared lucid.  He used the interview as an opportunity to talk about the circumstances of his wife's death, and to speak to his and Melissa Barnhill's families.  KTRE's handling of the interview was in keeping with the accepted standards of responsible journalism and our duty to inform our viewers."

In the statement, LoStracco did not object to the interview because she said Barnhill has the right to speak with whomever he chooses.

"Mr. Barnhill stated in the interview that he would be seeking the insanity defense," LoStracco stated. "As such, a request will be made for a court appointed psychiatrist to evaluate Mr. Barnhill."

LoStracco stated the evaluation must find Barnhill did not know the difference between right and wrong at the time when he killed Melissa Barnhill.

Regarding comments concerning Nicole LoStracco's husband, Jim LoStracco, who served as Melissa Barnhill's divorce attorney, Nicole LoStracco said, "Conflict of interest come in when there's a situation where the prosecuter actually represented the defendant on the other side. But the fact that my husband represented the woman that Mr. Barnhill's allegedly murdered, it really doesn't factor in at all in this situation."