Court documents detail custody battle before murder-suicide in Harvest

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Court documents show that a month before Brian Buening shot his 10-year-old son, the child’s mother had warned the court Buening was dangerous and asked for a suspension of his visitation rights. 

The child’s mother, Kayla White filed an emergency motion on July 9 stating her son, Tate, was “in great danger while in the father’s custody.”

That same day, Madison County Circuit Judge Chris Comer set a hearing in the matter — for a month later, August 9.

Three days before the hearing, on Friday, August 6, Madison County deputies say Buening killed his son and then shot himself at a home on Blue Creek Drive.

White’s petition asking the court to intervene claimed Buening was suffering from PTSD and depression and became extremely violent when left untreated or when he consumed alcohol. It also cited a history of suicidal ideations, including two failed suicide attempts.

White claimed she feared for her life and her son’s life, and was subjected to regular harassment from Buening over the telephone.

White’s motion said Buening “has on numerous occasions verbally and through text message threatened” her during his visitation times. In his most recent text, he threatened to kill her. He also consumed alcohol while exercising his visitation rights.

Court documents show Buening’s visitation rights were contingent on his following medical advice and attendance at his regular Vet Center meetings or with a mental health counselor. The agreement also stated he was not allowed to consume alcohol 24 hours before any scheduled visit.

White’s petition requested Buening be held in contempt, civilly and criminally, for his “willful disregard for the order of the Court and his failure to abide by his agreement.”

The court hearing was set for Monday.

White’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the hearing Friday,  informing the court that Buening had “carried out on his threats and killed himself and the minor child.”

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