'It's scary': Neighbors, family member react to murder of elderly Danville couple

Onis Moon charged with first-degree murder

DANVILLE, Va. – A first cousin of 87-year-old Valean Barley pulled up to Barley's Lexington Avenue home Thursday morning, shocked and in tears, after learning that Valean Barley and her husband Roy had been stabbed to death.

Police say the Barleys' daughter was also severely injured, but was recovering in a hospital Thursday.

"I got a phone call. Somebody was asking me where she lives at and if I knew about it," the cousin said.

She didn't want to be identified.

When asked what her first reaction was to the news, she tried to say "heartbreak" but got choked up.

"They were always at the house. I'd come by and talk to them. I talked to them just about every day. I'd stop by and check on them. They were nice people, didn't bother anybody," the cousin said.

Police say the suspect, 52-year-old Onis Moon, was arrested without incident as he was walking down the street away from the house shortly after the 911 call about the murders came in around 10 p.m. Wednesday.

His connection to the victims and his motive remained under investigation Thursday.

"All we heard was a lot of noise going on. My husband got up and looked outside and saw police cars," Deanna Strange, who lives across the street from the Barleys, said.

She said she and her granddaughter saw Roy around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

"He came outside to the mailbox. He would always roll outside and speak to us when he sees us," Strange said. "He spoke to (my granddaughter). He always called her 'girlfriend.' He'd say, 'Hey, girlfriend.' She started talking to him and he'd just sit there and laugh and talk with her."

A man who used to live next door to the Barleys was visiting another neighbor on the street Thursday morning.

The man didn't want to be identified, but said the Barleys were always nice to him.

"It's a shame that something like that happened to them," the man said. "It surprised me. It really did."

Danville police will provide the case details to Danville's commonwealth attorney, who will determine if Moon's charges should be upgraded to capital murder.

In Virginia, there are numerous circumstances that can lead to a capital murder charge.

If Moon's charges are upgraded, his case would be the fourth active capital murder case in Danville.

As of Thursday, one case was scheduled to go to trial at the end of the month and two other cases were scheduled to have their trial dates set in April 2019.

"With a capital murder case, you have to prove future dangerousness. One of the ways you do that is if their criminal history is extensive," Danville Police Department Capt. Dennis Haley said. "Before it's ever made, it will be a thoroughly investigated case."

Moon is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Jan. 10.

About the Author: