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Deadly home invasion suspect had been free because of a suspended sentence

Posted at 12:01 AM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 07:03:09-05

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va. -- It has been a little more than a week since the main suspect in the killing of a Caroline woman, Michael Lee Barlow, shot himself following a police chase that began in Goochland and ended in Albemarle County.

He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Barlow had a criminal history dating back to 2010, with previous charges in Hanover, Henrico, Clarke, and Louisa counties.

In June 2019, Barlow was indicted by a Richmond grand jury and charged with felony strangulation.

Court records show that he ended up entering a guilty plea and was sentenced to five years in the state penitentiary but most of that sentence was suspended and he was put on indefinite supervision probation after being released.

In December 2020, Barlow was arrested in Hanover for shoplifting but he was released on a summons.

About a week later, Caroline County investigators said he broke into the home of Carla M. Trost-Walker and her husband.

The couple returned while the burglary was underway, and Barlow shot Trost-Walker before stealing their car and fleeing the scene.

Caroline deputies said Barlow had an accomplice, 32-year-old Leonard Taylor Pippin, Jr.

The Ashland man has been arrested and charged with first degree murder, conspiracy to commit burglary, and two other counts.

Caroline Sheriff Tony Lippa said both Barlow and Pippin had previously done work at the Walkers' home, which is why his investigators believe it was targeted.

Carla Trost Walker's obituary shows that she loved her family, her cats, and her job as a dental hygienist at Hanover Family Dentistry.

A memorial service this Saturday will be streamed live on Facebook.