An Alabama man has reportedly fatally beaten a Black man with a shovel, and authorities suspect the attack may have been racially-motivated.
27-year-old Morgan Barnhill started as the victim of a case when he claimed an unknown Black man tried to break into his shed. Turns out, Barnhill lied about not knowing 25-year-old Black man Etienne Murray who he beat on the head with a shovel and pipe, Alabama officials said in a statement on Tuesday (April 5).
Barnhill waited hours to call the cops, and Murray died from the injuries he sustained from the beating on Friday (April 1).
Officials told Law&Crime, “Through the investigation, it was determined that the alleged victim [of the burglary] (Barnhill) intentionally misled officers about an attempted burglary on the 4300 block of Windy Hill Circle East.”
“Detectives discovered several inconsistencies in Barnhill’s statement and determined he filed a false report claiming an unknown male was attempting to break into a shed on his property,” Alabama officers added.
After Barnhill’s lies began to unravel, police said they began treating the case as an “active homicide investigation.”
Murray’s mother Linda Gayle said her son and Barnhill were friends and noted that Murray had received an invitation from him for a barbecue. According to the mother, Barnhill accused Murray of stealing a purse.
Gayle told WTVY News, “He took my baby, and he didn’t have to do that. If he feels like my child took something from him, why not call the police?" She added, “Why not handle it the right way? Why take the cowardly way out and beat my child’s head and leave him there?”
Barnhill is currently being held at Mobile County Jail where his bond was set for $500,000 on Tuesday. If released on bail, Barnhill would be put on house arrest and forced to wear an ankle monitor.
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The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
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