Verdict handed down in Christopher Michael Rowan case

Published 2:51 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2023

BLACKSTONE – Christopher Michael Rowan will spend the next part of his life behind bars. The Crewe resident was found guilty of murdering 27-year-old Bryan Barber this week, with the judge handing down a sentence as well. 

The charges stem from an incident that happened Thursday, June 2, 2022. The Nottoway Sheriff’s Office was called out in response to shots being fired at a home in the 3000 block of West Courthouse Road in Nottoway. Deputies and a Blackstone police unit arrived and found the Farmville resident Barber dead inside. 

Rowan, who lived at the home, was taken into custody at the scene and charged with Barber’s murder. He was formerly employed with the Prince Edward Volunteer Rescue Squad.

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Officials with the Nottoway County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office made it clear in a statement that the sentencing agreement was reached after consultation with Barber’s family. As part of the deal, Rowan pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He’ll serve 40 years in prison, with 13 of those suspended. 

“The 27-year active sentence came from the family’s request, one year for every year Bryan Barber was alive,” the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s statement said. 

More on Christopher Michael Rowan case

According to details released by the Nottoway Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Christopher Michael Rowan shared that home he lived in on West Courthouse Road with his wife. The pair had been separated for about six months at the time of the murder. On June 2, 2022, Rowan took off early from work, after learning Barber was at the house. When Rowan arrived at the house, he found four adults in the living room, including Barber and Rowan’s wife. Based on witness testimony, Rowan said hello to one of the other people at the home, then pulled out a gun and shot Barber multiple times. At this point, two of the other people in the home texted and called 911. 

Barber was originally from Henrico County. He moved to Farmville with his wife of four years, Krystal, to get out of the city, according to what his family told The Herald in an interview last summer. Barber was a 2013 graduate of J. R. Tucker High School in Henrico and worked with his dad at a family friend’s auto shop, Gum Spring Automotive, in Gum Spring.