Investigators: Facebook feud leads to murder of Jackson mom

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — It was an emotional day in court as the family of Brittany Southwell heard the details of her killing.

It happened in Jackson back in November.

The Jackson Police Department says 19-year-old Anthony Gelia burst into a home on Jefferson Street firing gunshots, shooting and killing the 26-year-old mother.

This case is finally being heard in court as the suspect is facing charges of open murder, home invasion, and felony firearm.

6 News was in the courtroom Wednesday morning as the Gelia’s preliminary hearing began.

The horrors of Nov 8, 2016 were relieved in Jackson County Court.

“It’s nightmare that don’t never stop,” said witness James McCravey while giving testimony.

McCravey owns the house where the shooting happened.

Brittany Southwell was engaged to his son, Tyler, and the couple lived there with their three young kids.

That night, McCravey heard someone pound on the front door, then kick it in.

“As soon as that door came open, the gun started firing,” McCravey said.

Investigators say Anthony Gelia ran through the house firing shots.

They say one of his bullets hit Southwell in her side while she held her baby boy.

“Britanny was laying there and Tyler was over top of her screaming, saying ‘Please don’t leave me’,” McCravey said.

Southwell was taken to the hospital where she later died.

Later that night, officers tracked down Gelia driving in Brooklyn.

When police pulled over his vehicle, two females exited Gelia’s SUV and warned officers that he had a gun to his head.

Police were able to get Gelia to drop the weapon and he was arrested.

Jackson Police Detective Wes Stanton testified that he interviewed Gelia the night of the shooting.

Stanton says Gelia was highly intoxicated and admitted to using prescription drugs.

Investigators say Gelia went to the house with a stolen handgun because of threats made against him, and his brother, who also lived in the house.

“He said there had been threats over Facebook, and telephone,” Detective Stanton said.

Authorities believe Southwell didn’t have anything to do with the feud, and she was just an innocent bystander.

Gelia told police he never meant to kill anyone.

But considering the circumstances, his mental state is being called into question.

“It appeared to me that he was after somebody,” Detective Stanton said.

A mental evaluation is underway.

The rest of the hearing was postponed to next month so more witnesses can testify.

 

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