Arrest made in Scopus killing

Thursday, August 2, 2007
Lisa Barlow was transferred from the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department after being arrested Wednesday on charges of first-degree murder. Barlow was taken to the Cape Girardeau County Jail. (Kit Doyle)

MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- The Bollinger County Sheriff's Department arrested Lisa A. Barlow Wednesday night in the killing of her boyfriend, Michael E. Strong, who was found shot to death Friday in his Scopus home.

Barlow, who was living with Strong at the time of the killing, is charged with armed criminal action and first-degree murder.

Police took Barlow into custody around 8 p.m. Wednesday and transported her to the Bollinger County Jail for processing.

Barlow allegedly shot Strong in the head with a Ruger .44-caliber single-action revolver, according to a probable-cause statement written by Lt. David James of the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department, who is commander of the Cape Girardeau/Bollinger County Major Case Squad.

Police received a 911 call from Barlow around 11 p.m. Friday.

Police say she was sobbing as she told the dispatcher she was hiding under the bed after hearing Strong arguing with someone. She said the argument was followed by a gunshot, and she told the dispatcher that she thought he must be hurt because he wasn't saying anything.

When officers responded to the residence at County Road 318, they found him dead of a single gunshot wound to the head.

Police found no sign of forced entry, and Strong was on the love seat in a reclining position, according to the sworn statement.

During a four-day search of the crime scene and after a known firearms permit check, police discovered Strong's .44-caliber Blackhawk Ruger revolver was missing from the home.

During the autopsy, pathologists extracted a bullet that matched the caliber of the missing gun, which has since been reported stolen.

Blood splatter patterns on the furniture contradicted Barlow's story, according to the probable-cause statement.

Barlow's ex-husband told police that she had said she hated Strong and had not had sexual relations with him in more than a month. She wanted her ex-husband back, he told police, and they were having an affair.

Police named Barlow, who had been employed by the Southeast Missourian, as a person of interest in the case as early as Saturday, according to Bollinger County chief deputy Leo McElrath. He said the squad hadn't compiled enough evidence to secure the warrant until Wednesday night.

Matt Strong, brother of the victim, said the family never would have dreamed Barlow had been involved with the killing at first, but when they gathered at his house Saturday, they began to suspect otherwise.

Matt Strong said his brother had been depressed of late and had acted as though something was wrong.

"We're very relieved," Strong said of the arrest. "Nothing is going to replace my little brother, but we want justice."

335-6611, extension 245

Click here for the probable-cause statement

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