Friends of Julie Brightwell mourn; try to understand her murder - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Friends of Julie Brightwell mourn; try to understand her murder

Eugene Nash, boyfriend of Julie Brightwell, gets comfort from friend Linda Kilpatrick of Biloxi. (Photo source: WLOX News) Eugene Nash, boyfriend of Julie Brightwell, gets comfort from friend Linda Kilpatrick of Biloxi. (Photo source: WLOX News)
D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) -

Julie Brightwell left few material things for friends to go through. But, even small things can carry a lot of weight; emotional weight.

Julie was murdered early Friday morning as she worked at the Waffle House in Biloxi near the Coast Coliseum, after she asked a man not to smoke inside the restaurant.

Eugene Nash, Brightwell's boyfriend for more than a year, says he is distraught. Nash grew to love her because of her love for others, particularly, his mother.

“My mother was sick of cancer,” Nash said. “She was passing away in August of last year, and Julie used to bring her coffee every morning. It meant a lot to my mom.”

But when Nash’s mother died, he was the one who needed help — and Julie obliged.

“My nerves had gotten real bad after my mother's passing. Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. And she finally was getting me healthy again.”

Julie's roommate, Peter Saujon, is a cab driver and was working the night of the shooting. He got a personal call from the manager.

“Told me they had a tragedy at the Waffle House near the Coliseum,” Saujon said. “And I pretty much knew what tragedy meant. Soon as a I dropped off, I went over there to see, and I was right.”

Anger about the tragedy shows in the people who were close to Brightwell. 

“I’m furious for someone to take her life over a cigarette,” Nash said. “Of all the things. ... I’m mad about it. But in the same sentence, what can you do? The law gives them the right to tote their gun where ever they want.”

But, even in their grief, friends and loved ones realize Julie's life had a ripple effect.

“Good-hearted person. Great friend. Whole bunch of people loved her,” Saujon said. “Along with me....I hope God loves her as much as everybody else did.”

Julie's friends have established a GoFundMe account to raise money for her services, and have raised nearly $2,000.

The man charged in Julie's murder, Johnny Max Mount, remains in the Harrison County Adult Detention Center on a $2 million bond.

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