Adrienne Magee’s Murder: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?

Adrienne Magee with her three `kids

Amidst the gun-law debates heating up newsrooms, ID’s American Monster rakes up certain staggering cases that shake up public memory. Watching ‘Flesh and Blood’, people are left to wonder whether the safety their guns make them feel comes at too big a cost. Consequently, they come close to a cul-de-sac that forces them to rethink the gun question. Coupled with this dilemma, one also has to rethink the case of gender violence. With capital punishment becoming rarer, the legislature and the judiciary must reach an optimal solution soon. One such case that has resurfaced on account of a heat index conundrum in prisons is the infamous Adrienne Magee murder case.

Adrienne and James Magee’s Relationship

The Magee story started in 1998 when James and Adrienne married. They came to live at St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, and eventually had three kids (Zack, Aleisha, and Ashleigh). However, their marriage was as much a misnomer as the name of their town. Within a few years of their marriage, in 2006, Adrienne obtained a divorce from her husband. Tension had been building up since long, as sources reveal that in recent past James had been prescribed painkillers. The medication did more harm than good because James was a heavy drinker. Further, James’ mood swings and abuse took a toll on Adrienne’s life, which eventually ended in a divorce. Post-divorce, Adrienne’s letters reveal a lot about the relationship that the couple shared. In one particular instance, we find that Adrienne expressed a lot of anger when she wrote that she was reduced to James’ whore, nanny, and maid.

How Did Adrienne Die?

After her divorce, Adrienne came to live with her cousin, Tracy, at Tall Timbers, Louisiana. Normally, this is where the marriage story ends and the struggle of a single mother starts. However, this was not to happen with Adrienne. After a visit with the kids (15th April, Sunday, 2007), James regularly started calling and threatening her, and at times pleaded with her. Later, Adrienne transferred these messages from her answering machine to her tape recorder. On Tracy’s advice, Adrienne parked her car at a hospital parking nearby lest James came hunting.

Overwhelmed with such events, Adrienne lodged a complaint at the Covington police station. After further paperwork, Adrienne could obtain a restraining order against James from the court. However, James did not react nicely to this ‘treatment’. He kept on calling relentlessly even on the 17th of April, Tuesday, the penultimate day of Adrienne’s life. On the following day, Adrienne was bringing Zack to Tracy’s house from school to get him ready for his baseball practice.

Cycling across the neighborhood, Tyler Mendoza saw a huge white truck ram onto a small car. The impact was so strong that the car went crashing into a ditch. Tyler finally remembered that he had to flee when he saw a man alight the truck and shoot at the car. Delbert Bryars, another neighbor, sensed a skirmish and advanced towards the scene. Although he noticed the butt of a gun and heard a woman screaming, he did not relent. However, he ran for his life when he heard two back to back gunshots. Bryars was the last one to see or hear Adrienne alive.

The Verdict

Officer Joseph Picone handled the case and was involved in arresting James. James was indicted for two first-degree murders (Adrienne and Zack) and was given a death penalty. Later, he got fifty years each for the attempted murder of his two daughters. He is currently awaiting execution while serving imprisonment at Angola, LA. In 2013, he sued the state (with the aid of a New Orleans organization) for adverse living conditions that he is facing in prison. Thirteen years later, chilling accounts of how James used his neighbor Henry’s computer to track down Adrienne’s address still numbs the reader.

Read More: Where is James Magee Today?