Buster Barnett, a former tight end for the Buffalo Bills, was back in the news for the first time in nearly 30 years after his mistress, Lisa Brown, kidnapped and murdered his wife Sandra in a tragic murder-suicide on Friday afternoon.
Brown led Caroll County Police police on a high-speed chase across Georgia’s Interstate 20 before stopping in the middle of the road. According to police, Brown reached into the backseat of the car, retrieving a gun and shooting Sandra Barnett before turning the gun on herself.
Here’s what you need to know about Barnett and the tragedy that struck earlier this week:
1. Barnett Played Four Seasons for the Buffalo Bills
Barnett was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 11th round of 1981 draft and played four seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
During his four years on the gridiron, Barnett recorded 26 receptions, totaling 236 receiving yards and just one touchdown during his rookie year. He played in 56 games before officially retiring from the game after the 1984 season.
2. He Played College Football at Jackson State
Barnett played college football at Jackson State after competing at Noxubee County High School in Macon, Mississippi. He was a standout tight end during college, boasting strength and size at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds.
Jackson State plays in the WAC and boasts a handful of other notable NFL alumni, including Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton.
3. Barnett Told Detectives That Brown Had Confronted Him at Work
After his retirement from the NFL, Barnett turned to teaching and has been working in the Atlanta Public School system for several years. Barnett admitted to detectives that Brown had lashed out at him while he was at work.
Brown had also previously worked in the school system from 2008 to 2013. Sandra Barnett was also a teacher, working with special needs students at McNair Middle School for over 20 years.
4. Brown Was Driving a Dodge Durango Registered in Barnett’s Name When Police Found Her
According to police, Brown broke into the Barnett’s home while Sandra was on the phone and, armed with a gun, took the 58-year-old hostage. The two were seen leaving the house in a Dodge Durango that was registered in Buster’s name.
The Caroll County Police saw the vehicle on Interstate 20 and immediately started the pursuit, eventually joined by the Alabama State Police as well. Neither Brown’s decision to stop in the middle of the highway nor the murder-suicide inside the vehicle have been explained by authorities.
5. Brown Was Upset About a Trip Barnett Was Taking With His Wife
Brown, who was already on probation for kidnapping her child that she had lost custody of, was allegedly upset that the Barnett’s were planning on taking a vacation together this year.
The former Atlanta Public Schools teacher was frustrated that she did not previously know about the trip. After finding out, Brown allegedly went straight to the Barnett’s home and took Sandra hostage, showing up at the house with a gun. Detective Charlene Watson-Fraser told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
She was upset about a trip that his wife was going on with him and it was one she didn’t know about.
Police said they found a set of handcuffs and receipts in the car after the murder-suicide, suggesting that Brown’s actions were premeditated.