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2 arrested in Midlothian man's murder were stopped by police on Halloween, officials say

'Detectives reviewed body-worn camera video of the traffic stop'
Posted at 4:25 PM, Jan 26, 2023

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. — Two people charged in the murder of a Midlothian man killed confronting a suspected burglar nearly three months ago were stopped by police on Halloween, according to Chesterfield Police.

The fatal shootinghappened in the 14000 block of North Carriage Lane at about 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2022, when officers responded and found a man suffering from a gunshot wound.

While first responders tried to save the victim, police said 56-year-old Robert C. Ashburn died at the scene.

Ashburn was reportedly leaving his home to head to work when he saw someone going through his girlfriend's unlocked vehicle, police said. Ashburn confronted the suspect and was shot.

Police later released surveillance video that showed a suspect rummaging through the vehicle. In that video, you can hear Ashburn speaking to the suspect before the shooting. The suspect can be heard saying "Bro, stop. Bro, stop, bro. Bro, stop, bro."

Asuntae M. Barksdale and Avontae M. Smith
Asuntae M. Barksdale and Avontae M. Smith

Police said in a news release Thursday that 25-year-old Asuntae M. Barksdale, of the 1200 block of Garber Street, was arrested on Nov. 18, 2022. He was charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

"Detectives soon learned that Barksdale had been in a vehicle that was stopped by Chesterfield police on the night of the homicide after the incident occurred," police said. "Detectives reviewed body-worn camera video of the traffic stop and learned that a total of three people – including Barksdale – had been in the vehicle that night. Detectives began working to identify the other two occupants of the vehicle."

As a result, a second person in that vehicle, then 21-year-old Avontae M. Smith, of the 200 block of West Coutts Street, was arrested on Nov. 29, 2022. He was charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The third person in the car was later identified, but after consultation with the Chesterfield County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, they were not charged in connection to the case.

Officials said officers are still investigating the crime and urge anyone with information contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or through the P3 app.

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