A Winona man accused of killing his wife and two of their friends in Carroll County is expected back in court Monday.

Michael Barnhill is scheduled to appear in Carroll County Circuit Court in Carrollton for a 1:30 p.m. hearing before Judge Joseph Loper.

Michael Barnhill

Barnhill

At an arraignment hearing last month, in which Barnhill pleaded not guilty to charges of capital murder and aggravated assault, Loper announced that the defendant’s trial would begin on Monday. It has since been changed to a hearing.

Beverly Pettigrew Kraft, public information officer for the Administrative Office of Courts, declined to say why. “I can’t give you an explanation at this time,” she said.

However, a Carroll County deputy chancery clerk, Monica Jones, said the purpose of Monday’s hearing is to see whether Barnhill will accept a plea deal with prosecutors.

Barnhill, 31, is accused of fatally shooting, in a drunken rage, his wife, Marlee Jones Barnhill, and two of their friends, Brooks and Jim Harrell, at a birthday party for Marlee at the Harrells’ Carroll County home in early March.

Barnhill is also accused of shooting at another guest at the party.

Under Mississippi law, one circumstance in which a person may be charged with capital murder is when three or more persons are killed in one incident.

Conviction on a capital murder charge can result in the death penalty.

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