GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP/CNN) - A North Carolina mother could face the death penalty after she allegedly murdered her 10-year-old daughter, 2-year-old niece and a 61-year-old man who was living with the family.
The victims of the triple murder were identified as 10-year-old Mkenzie McKinney, 2-year-old Serenity Rose and 61-year-old Jerry Griffin. (Source: McKinney Family/WGHP/Tribune/CNN)
Brittany McKinney, 28, is being held without bail on three charges of first-degree murder after police say she shot and killed three people Wednesday morning.
The victims were identified as McKinney’s 10-year-old daughter Mkenzie McKinney, her 2-year-old niece Serenity Rose and 61-year-old Jerry Griffin, who was living at the family’s Greensboro, N.C., home.
Police say McKinney was involved in a car crash less than 30 minutes after the killings took place. She was allegedly driving Griffin’s car when she hit a power pole and Veronica Hayes’ car.
"I was just trying to make sure she was OK, not knowing what had happened moments before," Hayes said. "She grabbed my hoodie and said, 'I don't want you to be involved.' She said, 'Sis, I don't want you to be involved.' I think she was a little disoriented at that point."
Also happening Wednesday morning was a heart-wrenching phone call from McKinney to her sister, Delilah Merritt.
“She said, ‘I killed everybody. I shot everybody in the house,’” Merritt said. “She’s like, ‘My baby, my baby, I shot my baby.’ And then I said, ‘Where’s Serenity?’ She said, ‘I shot her, too.’ I never thought she would do something like this.”
Friends and neighbors have put up pictures, cards, flowers and a bundle of purple balloons in a makeshift memorial around the mailbox of the family’s home.
"It's a sad situation, just very sad," neighbor Gina Baldwin said. "I hate that this happened."
Merritt says she thinks her sister was just overwhelmed with life and it became too hard for her. She and her mother call this an extremely difficult and truly tragic time for the family.
"I didn't want to believe it," Merritt said. "I still don't."
McKinney is expected back in court Feb. 11. She has reportedly admitted to substance abuse issues.
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