It’s the story of a girl, a court, a country. It’s also the story of how, in our eagerness to protect people as a mass, we forget to care for the individual as a person; of how, in our eagerness to show our concern for humanity at large, we forget to be humane.

I came to know of Ashley Jones only yesterday. She is twenty-one. She has already spent seven years in prison. She has been sentenced to spend her lifetime in prison, without parole. Because, when she was 14, she helped her 16 year old boyfriend kill two people and attempt to kill two others.

All the victims were Ashley’s relatives. The dead were her grandfather and her aunt. The wounded were her grandmother and a younger sister.

Why did Ashley stab them and set fire to the household to hide evidence of her act? The prosecuting lawyer says it is because Ashley’s conscience has not developed. When she does something wrong, or plans to, her inner voice. we are told, does not counsel her.

I wonder if anyone has asked why Ashley’s inner voice did not develop.

Ashley herself says that everyone she loved, everyone she trusted, has let her down. Her mother was a drug addict and her step-father had sexually abused her. Even before the assault for which she was sentenced, she had tried to kill her mother when she was pregnant. Her grandparents took her in, knowing she was a difficult child. Her grandfather disapproved of her boyfriend and questioned her relationship with him.

Obviously, Ashley did not have a normal upbringing. Her individuality, her role as a unique person in this world with unique needs, desires, fears, joys appear not to have been heeded or understood.

Ashley, it seems to me, was suffering more from lack of love than absence of conscience. Perhaps, her inner voice did not develop because it was not nurtured in sufficient warmth.

I think I have ‘developed’ a conscience, because my inner voice tells me what is right and what is wrong. So, do I always listen to it? Not necessarily. So, do I always feel remorseful when I don’t? Sometimes. So, do I make amends? Sometimes. But then, I also have loved ones whom I can trust and who haven’t let me down though I haven’t always listened to my inner voice.

This entry was posted in life, new world, Uncategorized by kshama. Bookmark the permalink.

About kshama

I'm a writer of stories - for the young and the old, for children and adults. I write fiction and non-fiction: novels, essays, short stories... I also research on a subject very close to my heart: the education of the under-privileged. The output of some of my work - stories, novels and essays - is available at I also blog at

5 thoughts on “ASHLEY JONES

  1. Wow I never knew that she have murdered her family members. I think that she is was not herself when she habve done that. She should at least get some clemency.

  2. After Ashley Jones stabbed her father and pregnant mother in 1998, killing neither, she and her younger sister were sent to live with her grandparents and maternal aunt. Deroy Nalls, her 78-year-old grandfather, was a retired steelworker and deacon at his church. His wife, Mary Nalls, 73, was a homemaker.
    By late August of 1999, the Nalls were growing tired of Jones’s bad behavior and grounded her for staying out all night at a party. The Nalls did not approve of Jones’s boyfriend, Geramie Hart, and told him not to visit their house. This angered Jones.

    Jones and Hart decided to kill everyone in the house, set it on fire, and take their money. To prepare, Jones stole two of her grandfather’s guns and smuggled them out of the house to Hart. She mixed together rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, and charcoal fire starter in anticipation of setting the house ablaze.

    It took the couple two days to put their plan into action. On the evening of August 30, 1999, Jones kept an eye on her relatives until they had settled in for the evening. Then she called Hart. He arrived around 11:15 p.m., and Jones led him into the house. He was carrying the .38 revolver taken from Jones’s grandfather.

    Jones and Hart sneaked into the den, where her grandfather was watching television. Hart shot him twice in the face; still alive, Deroy stumbled toward the kitchen. Next, they visited the bedroom of Millie Nalls, 30, Ashley’s aunt, and shot her three times. Seeing that her aunt was still breathing, Jones hit her in the head with a portable heater, stabbed her in the chest, and attempted to set the room on fire.

    The gunshots awakened Jones’s grandmother, and she got out of bed. That was when Jones and Hart entered her bedroom and shot her once in the shoulder. It was their last bullet.

    Jones and Hart returned to the den to discover that her grandfather was still alive. With knives from the kitchen, they stabbed him over and over again and left one knife embedded in his back. Jones poured charcoal lighter fluid on her grandfather, set him ablaze, and listened to him groan as he burned alive.

    The noise attracted Jones’s 10-year-old sister, Mary Elizabeth Jones, to the kitchen. From there, should see her grandfather on the den floor, ablaze. Soon after, the wounded Mary Nalls entered the kitchen and called out to her dying husband. Jones stabbed her grandmother in the face with an ice pick. Jones then poured lighter fluid on her, set her on fire, and watched her burn.

    Mary Elizabeth attempted to leave, but Jones grabbed her and began punching. Hart shoved the pistol in Mary’s face and said that he was going to shoot her. Jones intervened: “No, let me do it.” She stabbed her sister 14 times and stopped only after Mary curled up in a ball on the floor and pretended to be dead. Jones and Hart piled sheets, towels, and paper on the floor and set the pile on fire.

    Jones and Hart removed about $300 from her grandparents’ mattress and took the keys to their Cadillac, which they drove to a local hotel. Jones spent the night partying at the hotel, with her grandfather’s blood on her socks and grandmother’s blood on her shirt.

    Miraculously, Mary Elizabeth and her grandmother Mary had survived. Mary Elizabeth helped her grandmother out of the house and walked to a neighbor’s home for help. They called the police, who quickly responded to the scene. Police officers found Deroy Nalls dead on the living room floor, Millie Nalls dead in her bed, and Mary Nalls heavily wounded. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire lit by Jones and Hart.

    The following morning, news outlets reported the murders, as well as the fact that Jones’s sister had survived. The news angered her. “I thought I killed that bitch,” she later explained.

    Mary Elizabeth received stitches for her numerous stab wounds and was hospitalized with a collapsed lung. Mary was treated for gunshot and stab wounds and the burns that covered a third of her body. She spent a month in the burn unit of a local hospital, undergoing multiple skin grafts, before undergoing treatment at a rehabilitation facility to relearn how to use her arms after the burns.

    Hart and Jones were arrested the next morning after police identified the Nallses’ vehicle in the parking lot.

    Speaking to police, Jones admitted that “we both” stabbed her grandfather. She explained further: “I mean we shot Millie second…me and Geramie just started shooting her. And then…and then I went back in there and she was still breathing, so…I hit her on the head with the heater and stabbed her in her heart. And she just started coughing up blood.”

    According to the prosecutor, Laura Poston, Ashley Jones displayed no emotion throughout the trial:

    Sociopaths can however be in the form of a 14, now 15 year old petite girl with a pretty face who can sit all week in a courtroom, look at pictures of her dead grandfather and aunt, listen to her sister cry as she recounts the horrors of that night, and not shed a tear. The first time Ashley showed any emotion about what happened that night was when the jury read the verdicts finding her guilty of two counts of capital murder and two counts of attempted murder—she cried her first tears.

    Judge Gloria Bahakel noted in her sentencing decision that Jones “did not express genuine remorse of her actions.” The judge continued: “Although she apologized, at the prompting of the Court, her words were hollow and insincere. Furthermore, it was brought to the attention of the Court that while awaiting her sentencing, the defendant had threatened older female inmates in the Jefferson County Jail by telling them she would do the same thing to them that she had done to her family.”

    This girl deserves no clemency. After doing this, regardless of the fact if she thought it was right or wrong, she should rot in prison away from the rest of society. She stabbed her 10 year old little sister 10 times and was mad bc she didn’t actually kill her when she found out. I hope she hangs herself or gets killed in prison

  3. I am carrying Ryan Gator’s comment in full, as he sent it in. [The same is also available at, where you can also read comments by Ashley Jones’ relatives]. What the judgement does not say is what was Ashley Jones’ life like before she committed the crime. This is important from the perspective of this blog, because we argue that the seed of the violence lies in her upbringing which was far from normal.

    While thanking Ryan for his comment on the post, I would request other readers to please bear in mind that this does not detract from the fact that we are talking here about a girl [little more than a child] who had been abused and had had little caring or nurturing all of her young life. I would also request Ryan to read the last paragraph of his comment; what if violent thoughts were as legally punishable as violent actions?

  4. Pingback: Re-visiting Ashley Jones | The CyberSpace Meeting Place for People Like Us

  5. Pingback: Food for the mind and the body:Countdown 365/6 [Feb. 3, 2012] | The CyberSpace Meeting Place for People Like Us

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