Alabama man kills wife, 3 others and self

Posted on April 7, 2009. Filed under: Alabama, murder-suicide | Tags: |

Green Hill, Alabama – A man facing a divorce trial shot and killed his estranged wife, their teenage daughter and two other relatives in rural north Alabama before returning to his home in a nearby town and killing himself, authorities said Tuesday.

Kevin Garner’s body was found Tuesday afternoon near his Priceville home, which burned to the ground overnight. His divorce trial was to start Wednesday. Garner apparently shot himself in the chest, said Travis Clemmons, chief investigator for the sheriff’s office in Lauderdale County, where the four bodies were found earlier in the day in a home in Green Hill, a small community near the Tennessee line.

The victims were identified as Garner’s estranged wife, Tammy, 40; their 16-year-old daughter, Chelsie; Garner’s sister, Karen Beaty of Illinois; and Beaty’s 11-year-old son, whose name was not released.

Investigators said the four were shot, apparently with a handgun, around midnight Monday. They did not know if Kevin Garner was licensed to carry a firearm.

It was one of eight mass shootings around the country — and the third in Alabama — in the last month that have left grief-stricken communities in shock.

Clemmons said a neighbor visiting the Green Hill house Tuesday morning saw a body through the door and called authorities.

Court officials said the Garners were in court Monday in advance of the trial and nothing seemed unusual.

“I just can’t understand it,” said Clemmons, “and with a 16-year-old and an 11-year-old kid, there’s nothing rational about it.”

In the divorce file, Tammy Garner sought custody of their daughter and alleged that her husband “has been both physically and emotionally abusive.” Kevin Garner accused her of adultery and of taking $38,000 out of their joint bank account when they separated May 27.

More on Associated Press

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