MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Muskegon Heights Board of Education appointed a new member Tuesday after her predecessor was shot and killed.

Julius Muhammad, 53, was shot and killed on Dec. 19, shortly after he was elected to the board. A suspect has been charged with open murder in his death.

During a special meeting Tuesday, the board approved Marianne Darnell’s return to the board to fill the empty seat. She previously served on the board from 2018 to 2022, the board said in a release.

“Ms. Darnell brings a depth of experience and the unwavering commitment we need to move our district forward,” Board President Trinell Scott said in the release. “Her appointment is another significant step in upholding our commitment to provide the very best, quality education for our students.”

Muskegon Heights schools are run by a private academy, governed by both an appointed and an elected school board. The academy has come under fire for a lack of teachers and other problems.