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Friends remember teacher killed in West End home: 'She was always so cheerful'

Posted at 7:50 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 20:36:34-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va., — A Henrico man charged with killing his wife in their West End home appeared before a judge for the first time on Tuesday.

Michael Louis Barron, 53, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Mui Ung Barron.

Barron was handcuffed inside the jail when he appeared in court via video Tuesday morning.

Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge S.L. Williams Jr. appointed Barron an attorney.

Barron stated he works for Henrico County’s information technology department and helps support his sister-in-law.

Barron was scheduled back in court in May.

Judge Williams said the court may be forced to change the date citing an upcoming decision by the Virginia Supreme Court regarding future cases and the pandemic.

Henrico Police responded to a home on Brookwater Drive off Pump Road just before 7 a.m. Monday for a suspicious situation.

Officers said they found Mui Ung Barron, 64, dead inside the house.

She was found in an upstairs room with obvious signs of trauma, Crime Insider sources told Jon Burkett. Those same sources said Michael Barron had called 911.

Mui Ung Barron was an assistant teacher at Richmond Montessori School for five years.

She was assigned to the 4th, 5th and 6th grades.

“Our community is heartbroken by this loss and she will be greatly missed," a school spokesperson wrote in an email to CBS 6. "Mui was a kind and dedicated educator and we will honor her contributions and memories as a community in the weeks to come.”

“She was always so cheerful”

An outpouring of condolences were shared on the Pokemon Go RVA Facebook page following the news of Mui’s death.

She was an instrumental local figure in the popular game as she connected with hundreds of players.

Mui was known for driving her maroon SUV to locations throughout Central Virginia to catch Pokemon with four different phones.

Damien Lehfeldt recalled meeting Mui at a Pokemon Go gym about four years ago.

“She had a warm and welcoming presence about her,” he recalled. “She was super friendly and got me introduced to the local group.”

Lehfeldt said nothing appeared out of the ordinary when he saw Mui last week.

“She seemed her normal self. That’s one thing about Mui — she’s always a ball of energy,” he explained. “It’s crazy to even think about now that someone could hurt her.”

Phil Hugs recalled attending the Pokemon Go Festival in Chicago with Mui and his family last year.

“It was always a pleasure running into Mui because she was always so cheerful. Hearing her call me PhilHugz in her animated voice always made me smile,” he explained. “She was ecstatic that she was flying on the same plane as me, and we even discussed (jokingly) that I would find out who was sitting next to her and trade tickets with them so we could fly side by side.”

Michelle Bohannon frequently played the game with Mui in the West End.

“She was always out and about and just such a genuinely great person to be around and to know,” she stated. “She was the first person that I met and got to know while playing around town and we had been friends ever since. It was always a pleasure to be around her. I cannot believe that she is gone and I am going to deeply miss her. The West End Pokemon Go community will not be the same without her. The world will not be the same without her.”

The local Pokemon Go community is planning to honor Mui with a social distance vigil on Sunday.

They are scheduled to gather outside of her favorite location to play, Grace Community Baptist Church, to pay their respects.

Lehfeldt offered his condolences to Mui’s family after her unexpected death. Neighbors said she had two sons.

“Thank you for sharing your mother with us because she made a deeply profound on many people’s lives outside of her family,” he said.

Suspect pleads guilty in September incident

In 2019, Michael Barron was arrested and charged after an incident at Parham Doctor’s Hospital in Henrico County.

Henrico Police were called to the hospital just before noon on September 8, 2019.

“Upon arrival, Michael Barron was found vandalizing equipment. During the incident, he assaulted staff and a police officer,” according to Lt. A.M. Robertson.

Officers charged Barron with disorderly conduct, vandalism, assault on staff, and assault on law enforcement.

Online court records showed Barron pled guilty to disorderly conduct on hospital grounds and destruction of property in February in Henrico General District Court.

The assault charges were nolle prossed.

A judge sentenced him to two years in jail for the charges and suspended all but one month.

Barron’s attorney declined to comment.