Re-visiting Ashley Jones

In 2007, Ashley Jones was 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. The following extract may have some clues to why she did what she did. It is from an article by Bryan Stevenson of the New York University’s School of Law.

ASHLEY JONES — Victim of Horrendous Abuse, She is One of Four 13 or 14-year-Old Girls in the Country Condemned to Death in Prison. Ashley Jones was assaulted by her father, sexually abused by her stepfather, and repeatedly threatened at gunpoint by her crack-addicted mother. At 14, Ashley, depressed and suicidal, became involved with an older boy. He shot and killed Ashley’s grandfather and aunt and injured her grandmother and sister. Due to Alabama’s harsh mandatory sentencing laws, the court did not consider Ashley’s age or background and sentenced her to the most severe possible punishment. Her grandmother and sister, victims of the crime, both have forgiven her and campaigned for her release.

More about Ashley Jones at my earlier post

https://kshama.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/ashley-jones/

Am I suggesting that compassion should rule when meting out punishment to criminals? Not quite. I’m only trying to say that crime should be placed in the context of a person’s background and instead of punishment, we should, perhaps, consider the word ‘Reform’ or a better equivalent. For, punishment under the law pre-supposes an equality of persons that does not exist in the real world. Everyone is a product of circumstances and the physical, mental and spiritual health of each individual has a bearing on their outlook, thoughts, words and actions.

What do the family members of the victims have to say? Please read on …

S. Nalls-Brock · 104 weeks ago

There is a deep pain that still affects me in the loss of my father, sister and neice, in fact, the loss of many others in my family because this tragedy at the hands of Ashley and Geramie have left our family more scattered and in turmoiled than thought imaginalble. We have lost our dear loved ones Dad and sister, and even including Ashley. We have also lost our common homestead where we grew up and always solaced that we had a central matriachial and patriarchial place to call home. My parents would have been married 60+yrs if my dad was still alive. tHowever, even with the great void evident in our lives, we must come to a place of peace, love and forgiveness- because bitterness and anger are poisons that will further destroy us. I look to my Lord to help me daily to cope with my loss and realized only the God of heaven and earth, He who created man and the earth entrusted to us can change and reconcile us to Himself and establish righteousness in our hearts. Yes, vengeance is not mine nor anyone else’s, but the Lord’s, Our limited justice system does what it can, but only God can create a clean heart in a demonized or deluded youngster. I believe we must come to realize that prisons and jails can’t nor won’t change the hearts of criminals, but can hold them safely away from others until they can find/make peace with the God of their salvation for the truest and necessary change in their hearts and then there are still consequences for choices/behavior. Let’s remember Adam and Eve- “the day you eat from this tree, you shall surely die.” Man is still suffering for our forefather’s choices and sin continues to erode us and lead us to receive the wages of sin is indeed death. It is high time we awake out of sleep and choose the Living God who is able to save and redeem us- helping us to choose righteously, rather than selfishly and preversely. Ashely- look up and live even while you are naturally bound- you can be spiritually free. Live!!!!!! Choose to live in Christ!

via Adult Time for Adult Crime: Ashley Jones.

California · 111 weeks ago

I’m still traumatized by murders of my father and sister. What has been said in these posting is not what really happen. If only you knew what really happen then you would seriously research this tragedy to try not to let this happen to another family.

Sincerely

Patricia Nalls

via Adult Time for Adult Crime: Ashley Jones.

9 thoughts on “Re-visiting Ashley Jones

  1. Pingback: The Rule of Law, Justice, and the subtlety of Dharma | The CyberSpace Meeting Place for People Like Us

  2. I met Ashley a couple years AFTER her incarceration. …she is EVIL….she hasn’t changed only gotten worse. ..you should not feel sorry for Ashley, feel sorry for the boyfriend because the whole crime was Ashleys idea.

  3. I still hold that compassion is possibly the key to wind down evil of all kinds. An eye for an eye will only render the whole world blind. It is important to take a holistic view of a person’s action at a particular point in time as people are products of all they are born into and born with.

  4. I do believe in forgiveness. I look at scars everyday from an attempt on my life by a family member…. its hard my mind and thoughts change often about the situation….. I often think about Ashley and your family ….I pray for your healing and for your family to get pass the pain and hurt….GLENDA MASON

  5. Thank you, Glenda. I often cite Ashley’s traumatic upbringing and her tragic life to assert that the law should be more subjective and less objective, more benevolent than blind to real justice. Ashley Jones is the modern Jean Valjean … Judiciary must self-reflect, be its own judge, and react as rational, thinking humans rather than as programmed computers.

  6. I went to school with Ashley, I remember a violent bully. She didn’t pick on me but if you were one of her victims, she made life a nightmare. What this story says in the beginning about Hart killing and attacking her family, isn’t entirely true. What it doesn’t say is that she planned everything, stole guns, waited for her family to settle in for the night, and let him in to help her. She stabbed and beat to death her aunt, tried to do the same to her grandmother and sister and set her grandmother on fire. She is cruel and evil. Yes she had a hard life and didn’t get a fair shake in the beginning but her grandparents tried to provide her with a good stable home. She did all this because they didn’t like her choices and her boyfriend.

  7. Thank you, Melissa, for your thoughts and for sharing your experience with Ashley Jones. Let me clarify right away that I am not a pacifist, though I subscribe to the philosophy of ahimsa – non-violence in thought, word and deed. I also do believe in the corrective potential of punishment though I do not support capital punishment. As far as Ashley is concerned, I am by no means excusing her crime. She did it when she was old enough to know better. I am only questioning whether people like Ashley can be measured on the same parameters as others who have had a normal upbringing, with responsible parents, caring family and so on.

    Experiments in psychology have established that even twenty minutes of continuous exposure to loud music or violent video dumb down the senses and one subsequently becomes numb to morally questionable acts that immediately follow the exposure to the audio or video. These experiments have been conducted on otherwise normal people whose responses at other times are morally sound, and also measured against comparable control groups that were not exposed to such audio or video. Now, consider the lives of persons like Ashley, who, from their birth, have been exposed to abuse and violence. They have not had occasion to cultivate their spirituality or their conscience and, as a consequence, their value systems remain nebulous. I argue that people like Ashley Jones cannot be measured on the same parameters by law as others with more opportunities to nurture their value systems with guidance from family and peers in their infancy and early adulthood.

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