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 Ashleys grandfather and aunt and injured her grandmother and sister. Due to Alabamas harsh mandatory sentencing laws, the court did not consider Ashleys 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
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!
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.