0

Family in legal tangle
Police: Wife arrested after bullying witness

LAWRENCEVILLE - Brittany Pirkle joined her husband's alleged killer - her brother-in-law - in the confines of Gwinnett County Jail this week.

Pirkle, 20, was arrested Tuesday alongside her sister, Jessica Clanton, 27, for allegedly intimidating a neighbor who witnessed her husband's May 16 stabbing death.

Police say the victim, Tracy Pirkle, 30, was killed by his brother, Jason Pirkle, 31. The elder Pirkle allegedly plunged a pocket knife into his brother six times during a drunken, shirtless brawl at the family's Hampton Square Drive apartment.

A stab to Tracy Pirkle's heart caused him to bleed to death about an hour later, Lawrenceville police Detective Neil Zellous said last week.

Zellous testified during Jason Pirkle's probable cause hearing Friday that a neighbor named Beverly Franklin witnessed the men fighting and called 911. Franklin told police she witnessed Jason Pirkle fighting his brother from his knees, unable to keep his younger brother from

pummeling him without using the four-inch pocket knife, the detective said.

The victim's wife and her sister, who both attended the court hearing, allegedly paid the witness a visit sometime late Friday or Saturday morning, according to their arrest warrants.

The women attempted to sway Franklin into changing her statement to police, "causing the witness to feel intimidated," the warrant said.

Brittany Pirkle and Clanton were arrested Tuesday on a felony charge of influencing a witness. They both posted $2,850 bond and were released from jail the same day.

It wasn't clear Wednesday exactly what the women allegedly said to the witness. Lawrenceville police did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday. A police report detailing the arrest won't be available for several days, a department representative said.

Brittany Pirkle did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Jason Pirkle faces one count of murder for allegedly killing his brother, whom he lived with. A judge bound his case to Gwinnett Superior Court at the Friday hearing.

Police said the deadly fight was triggered when Tracy Pirkle struck his wife after the couple argued about a misplaced wallet.

The victim's wife denies that. She claims Jason Pirkle was fueled by alcohol and prescription Xanax pills when he attacked his brother.