Affidavit: Murder suspect told friends she shot Mesquite neighbor in self-defense

A woman arrested for the murder of a neighbor earlier this month in Mesquite claimed it was self-defense, according to her arrest affidavit.

The court documents for the January 6 murder of 36-year-old Juan Rivera-Garcia and the arrest of 23-year-old Kailey Marnell were not released until Wednesday. They say Marnell admitted to friends she shot Rivera-Garcia and claimed it was self-defense. Yet, police say she never called for help.

Court documents say Marnell believed she shot a man who was trying to break into her house for the second time in recent weeks. But police say the facts, in this case, warranted a murder charge.

Neighbors have questions about what led one neighbor to shoot and kill another.

“At that point, a whole bunch of bells and whistles start going off,” said neighbor Cedric Fulsom. “Like what really happened?”

Rivera-Garcia was found dead from multiple gunshot wounds between two homes across the street from his home on Wesley Drive. Marnell, the person accused of killing him, lived across the street from him.

Neighbors reportedly heard multiple gunshots around 3 a.m. but thought it may have been fireworks.

Rivera-Garcia’s wife told police she saw someone in Marnell’s car speed away right after. Police weren’t called until hours later at 8:15 a.m. when a neighbor found Rivera-Garcia’s body.

“Even if you shoot somebody, you still can call and see if you can save that person’s life. Even if they’re in the wrong,” Fulsom said. “I do think the fact that she left and that person possibly could’ve survived even with medical attention?”

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Marnell’s mother told police they reported seeing someone on a ladder trying to look into Marnell’s window on December 30, a couple of weeks before the shooting. But when police arrived, they didn’t find anyone.

After the fatal shooting on January 6, police searched the surrounding area and found damage and marks to the Marnell home’s back fence where someone might have climbed over with muddy shoes.

Police searched Marnell’s phone and found a deleted Facebook message that said “I shot at a man last night who was trying to get into my house for the second time in two weeks.”

“And this is at 3:30 in the morning?” Fulsom questioned. “I don’t know. My wild guess is like why are you there at 3:30 in the morning?”

Police found a bullet hole in the garage door, a .38 caliber bullet nearby, and a revolver with six spent shell casings of .38 caliber rounds inside Marnell’s house.

Neither the victim’s nor the suspect’s families were home when FOX 4 tried to contact them.

FOX 4 spoke to Rivera-Garcia's family shortly after the shooting. They described him as a loving husband and father.

Mesquite police say self-defense cases are typically referred to a grand jury, but the facts in this case warranted an arrest for murder.

The arrest affidavit also says Marnell sent messages after the shooting saying “she was a felon and not supposed to have a gun and this was not a joke.”

Marnell has two prior charges on her record from 2013 for DWI and evading arrest.