Nacogdoches murderer agrees to lose parental rights

Kyle Barnhill mug shot courtesy of Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Kyle Barnhill mug shot courtesy of Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches man convicted of murdering his estranged wife has agreed to terminate the parental rights of his two daughters.

Kyle Edwin Barnhill, 47, was back in Nacogdoches on Wednesday, this time fighting for custody of his children.

After representing himself in the jury selection before a parental hearing case, Barnhill worked out an agreement on a settlement to terminate his rights.

According to the docket notes made by the court, the terms are that Barnhill will receive an annual report on his daughters, Barnhill will be allowed to send a letter every two months to the girls (which the adoptive parents can make a judgment call to give to them), the Barnhill grandparents will have reasonable access to the girls and Barnhill will not appeal the decision.

A formal adoption is expected to take place Wednesday. Barnhill's biological daughters have lived with their future adoptive parents since the night the murder took place.

Serving in his own defense, Barnhill told the jury panel they will have to take the murder of his estranged wife out of the equation when deciding what's best for his two daughters.

"You know, Kyle Barnhill is an intelligent man and he thinks he can present his case and that's what he's going to try to do.">

After a jury was selected, mitigation started under the agreed leadership of Judge Jack Sinz. It was successful. Barnhill agreed to terminate all his parental rights under certain conditions.

"The question really is one primary question that is, is it in the best interest of the children to terminate the father's parental rights?" family attorney Bob Flournoy said. "And so, there are a lot of factors."

Shortly after the parental reliquishment, adoption proceedings began. The Alders' entire family, a pastor and other witnesses, all prepared to testify in a tedious court proceeding, were now attending a joyful occasion.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice transported Barnhill to the Nacogdoches Courthouse under heavy security on Wednesday.

"TDCJ takes appropriate steps when transporting offenders to court appearances to ensure the safety and security of everyone involved," said Jason Clark, the public information officer for TDCJ, through an email statement.

Barnhill shot his estranged wife, Melissa Barnhill, through her kitchen window in 2009, with his two daughters in the house. Now, another family wants to adopt the girls. But in order to do so, Barnhill must terminate his parental rights, which he is contesting.

A jury found Barnhill guilty of murder in September 2009 and also sentenced him to life in prison.

Barnhill confessed in a telephone interview with KTRE to killing his wife in May 2009.

Barnhill appealed the verdict, which was last denied in April 2011, according to district clerk records.

Barnhill says he's being carted around like some animal.

He is considered a flight risk.

During the court proceedings he was transported back and forth from palestine.

It was a complex undertaking.

Two guards were in the courtroom, two others guarded the perimeters.

Two state vans were used, in case one broke down.

Even food was brought with them so no one would have to leave the courthouse.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved.