Family, friends react to Barnhill's confession

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

HUNTINGTON, TX (KTRE) - Emmet Luman was the only person that spoke up for accused murderer Kyle Barnhill. On the night of Melissa Barnhill's murder, Emmet Luman picked-up Kyle from the Nacogdoches County Jail. On that night in March, Barnhill told Luman he did not murder his wife. Luman said he took his word for it.

"So I believed him, he made it all sound real and truthful to me," said Luman.

When asked about his initial reaction to Barnhill's confession, Luman said, "Well, I was really shocked; I just thought he was innocent. It made me feel sad that he had done it and it surprised me, I'll say that, it did surprise me. I was shocked at it."

Luman said looking back on that night in March, all the pieces now fit together. "My doctor friend lives across the street from his wife and he heard the shot when it went off," said Luman. "Of course he didn't know what it was you know, but he knew it was a high powered rifle sounded like."

Now that he's heard Kyle's confession, he said he no longer has to wonder. "Well, it's over with, I guess it's all a relief that it's over with, you know," said Luman.

But Melissa Barnhill's murder case is far from over. In a phone conversation, Melissa Kessinger Barnhill's father, James Kessinger said, "He's leaving it up to the court's decision now."

James Kessinger said his daughter, Melissa, was the love of his life.

Kyle Barnhill is set to go to trial on September 28. He is charged with first degree murder. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.