LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Thursday afternoon shooting in Lee County is now a murder investigation, and the suspect is confirmed to be the victim’s wife, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies responded to a home in the 500 block of Lee Road in Phenix City shortly after 4:30 p.m. after getting a 911 call about the discovery of a man suffering from a gunshot wound.
First responders found the man, later identified as 26-year-old Brandyn Lloyd Paonessa, in the front yard. He’d been shot once in the abdomen. Medics worked to save his life, but Paonessa died a short time later.
An investigation was opened and law enforcement found evidence, including a shotgun, that led to the arrest of Paonessa’s wife, Brittnay Ryals Paonessa, 27. She’s now charged with murder and is being held on a $150,000 bond at the Lee County Detention Facility.
While the sheriff’s office did not provide any details on a possible motive, a check of Alabama court records shows that Brandyn Paonessa filed for an emergency protection from abuse order against his wife on Monday, just three days before his death.
The court filings indicate the victim was concerned with his wife’s mental state calling her “very mentally ill” and “very unstable” and said she had refused help from a rehabilitation center. He also accused her of stalking him and his family and friends as well as threatening his job.
The victim also alleged in his filing that Brittnay Paonessa had “ran a truck into the house 3 feet from our children.”
The couple, married since 2013, have four children ages 8, 3, 2, and 2-months.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 334-749-5651 or the Lee County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-522-7847.