Chicago teacher was killed by her ex-boyfriend while he was on parole for strangling his previous partner, prosecutors say

CHICAGO — The April 2023 murder of a Chicago charter school teacher has been solved, prosecutors said, as they filed charges against her ex-boyfriend, a man who was on parole for arson and domestic battery charges that involved his previous partner.

A neighbor found Sa’Mon Richardson dead in her apartment in the 5500 block of South Lowe around 10 a.m. on April 4. She had been shot in the head.

Richardson, 35, worked her way through school and became a teacher at Chicago International Charter School Washington Park, according to media reports.

Mark Barber and Sa’mon Richardson (IDOC, National Gun Violence Memorial)

The case seemed to go nowhere, at least publicly, for months. Behind the scenes, though, Chicago detectives methodically built a case against Richardson’s ex, 56-year-old Mark Barber.

Barber was sentenced to 15 years for residential arson and 7 years for aggravated domestic battery by strangulation in 2012, crimes prosecutors said involved his domestic partner at the time. He was paroled in October 2019 and eventually entered into a relationship with Richardson.

In a detention petition, prosecutors said the couple broke up in the spring of 2022 but continued to see each other from time to time. But last March, about two weeks before she died, Barber allegedly sent text messages to a third party that threatened Richardson.

On the day before Richardson’s body was discovered, a Ring camera captured video of Barber holding a hammer and a handgun in her kitchen. About an hour later, Richardson arrived at the apartment, prosecutors said, citing the camera footage.

In addition videos, Chicago cops allegedly found the hammer in Barber’s trunk and acquired his phone location data, which showed him traveling to Richardson’s apartment before the murder and leaving afterward.

State officials revoked his parole last summer as the murder investigation was underway. He is expected to be released from prison in June 2025.

Prosecutors took the case to a grand jury. Last month, they returned a true bill charging Barber with eight counts of murder and officials filed the detention petition with Judge Adrienne Davis, according to court records.

She granted the request, citing Barber’s domestic violence background and the video evidence as two reasons he needs to stay in custody after he gets out of prison.

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