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  • Adult Time for Adult Crime: Ashley Jones

    The Equal Justice Initiative’s 2007 report describes Ashley’s Jones offense as follows: “At 14, Ashley tried to escape the violence and abuse by running away with an older boyfriend who shot and killed her grandfather and aunt. Her grandmother and sister, who were injured during the offense, want Ashley to come home.”

    The actual facts of the case, taken from the judge’s written findings, appear below.

    Defendant: Ashley Jones (14)
    Victims: Deroy Nalls (grandfather; murdered), Millie Nalls (aunt; murdered), Mary Elizabeth Nalls (grandmother; attempted murder), Mary Elizabeth Jones (sister; attempted murder)
    Crimes: Two counts, first degree capital murder. Two counts, attempted first degree murder & other charges
    Crime date: August 30, 1999 in Birmingham, Alabama

    Summary
    In a span of minutes, Ashley Jones and her boyfriend shot her grandfather twice in the face and then stabbed him until he died; shot her sleeping aunt three times; shot her grandmother in the shoulder and then stabbed her, poured lighter fluid on her, set her on fire, and watched her burn; and stabbed her 10-year old sister 14 times. Jones then took $300 from her grandfather’s wallet and the keys to his Cadillac, which she drove away from the crime scene.

    Facts
    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.”

    Charles D. Stimson is Senior Legal Fellow and Andrew M. Grossman is Senior Legal Policy Analyst in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    35 Responses to Adult Time for Adult Crime: Ashley Jones

    1. Bobbie Jay says:

      What a horror story. I dismiss labeling her as a "sociopath," she cried at the sentence.

      Seems to be the infiltrated attitude of the youth. "my way or you're dead." I do not blame the parents in this case. There is no discipline in society. What parents don't allow, society does. Where parents bring up their children to respect human life, society and government devalues human life by even consideration of empathizing with the guilty.

      • Barbara says:

        Crying means nothing. She was grieving for herself, her own fate, not because she was feeling any remorse for her actions or any feeling of loss for her victims. No conscience = Sociopath

      • Missdd says:

        From what I know of the story, the "boyfriend, an 18 yr old male" testified against her and only got 10 yrs. Is now out walking about and claims to have changed. Ms. Jones says that he did the shooting and stabbing.

    2. sheila bodnar says:

      She needs life with no parole. Anyone who is already so hard hearted as to do all of this does not need to be roaming the streets. Killers, rapist and the like never stop at just one spree.

    3. .Barbara A., OFallon says:

      Why was this sociopath not locked away after stabbing her parents? It seems to me that if she could attemt to kill Dad and a pregnant Mom, with only punishment to be sent to live with Grandparent, along with a younger sister(who was shipped off without offense), one should have predicted such a horror, if any limits were placed on her freedoms. This baffles me. If this waste of humanity is ever released, due to some bleeding heart, subscibing to a plea for compassion, that idiot should have to live with her.

    4. BT, Port Allen, LA says:

      Reading this reminded me of the fictious movie, "The Bad Seed" which came out sometime in the late 50's. I remember how disturbing it was but I guess it was more realistic than I thought at the time.

    5. Mike, Maryland says:

      The notion of locking "people" such as this away for life does not take into consideration the prison guards, administrators, medical staff and other non-violent inmates which will have to deal with these animals for decades to come. And yes, there is always some bleeding heart who will rally to the cause, claiming they have now learned to paint, write or compose music while in prison and deserve to be given parole. The death penalty does not apply to all cases however, I would find it hard to imagine another case more fitting. Unfortunately, the news tomorrow will be filled with even more horrors and there are not enough prisons to go around.

    6. Slick in Nebraska says:

      I am 62 years old, and when I was growing up, my parents used appropriate "instruction" when the offenses called for it: minor problems resulted in mild reprimand, medium-range problems called for more serious consideration, and gross infractions called for the ultimate punishment – a good spanking on the rearend! By all accounts nowadays I probably grew up in an abuse home, but one thing is for sure: we KNEW what was expected of us and where our limits were. In short, we respected the authority of our parents in our home. Now our government has stuck its nose into raising kids, what they can be taught, and taken religion out of our lives. What do we expect when NO ONE is in control of our young people who are supposed to be learning how to become a productive part of society???

      My children were raised with a healthy respect for their elders, to obey the rules, and be responsible for their decisions, that EVERY decision has consequences – good and bad. This is not something that starts when they become teens . . . it starts when the child is very young. There were RULES everyone MUST obey, and children who didn't follow the rules KNEW what was going to happen next – no FREE passes because accountability is learned from the progression of consequences.

      How does a child differentiate between small infractions from life-threatening ones if the consequence is the same – time out for all! If my kids ran into the street, they got their bottom swatted, and they learned that serious infractions called for a very serious response.

      So now we have this generation of thugs that grew up being in charge of everyone because they are told from the time they start to school that physical discipline is child abuse and their parents can be arrested for it. They learned early on that they could get whatever they wanted by throwing a fit with no real consequence . . and sadly, there are no consequences for their actions because everything they do or don't do is SOMEONE ELSE's fault. Look at all of the excuses the sympathizers give to allow for bad behavior, poor work ethic, little or no moral fiber as well as a total "ME" oriented attitude.

      And just like about everything else our government has gotten involved in that effects our daily lives, this, too, is a miserable failure. And the only choice left in a case like this is either imprisonment or execution. If you had an animal who viciously bit everyone who came to your door, you would be REQUIRED to put the animal down. Tell me how this is any different except that the human is SUPPOSED to have a a sense of right and wrong!

    7. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      Again, read People of the Lie by Scott Peck to understand the evil in this person.

    8. Freedom of Speech TX says:

      "Juvenile" my ____!

      There is no rehabilitation here, only laughter and contempt if she gets away with it.

      Life without parole. Let her think about it for decades.

    9. ron hansing says:

      Comment on 1999 teenage murderers, Alabama.

      The Menninger Foundation studied and published a article on the two killers in the book, "In Cold Blood".

      The conclusion was that neither could have killed on their own, but together, were capable of killing.

      I think there are many examples of this, ie, Manson family, holocaust, Mai lai in Vietnam… etc.

      Each participant needed the silent approval of the others to do the deeds. Perhaps it's a macho thing… or co-dependence…

      Perhaps acceptable since one is doing it, it's OK and easier for the other to do it, and yet, with the other's involvement, there is a sense of less responsibility of your actions…

      There is also the idea of rapid thought conversion (brain washing)of the group… this occurs in any hyperemotional setting.

      Read William Sargents, "The Battle for the Mind", 1962? for a complete discussion.

      Ron Hansing MD 10.29.9

      The Menninger Foundation studied and published a article on the two killers in the book, "In Cold Blood".

      The conclusion was that neither could have killed on their own, but together, were capable of killing.

      I think ther are many examples of this, ie, manson family, holocaust, Mai lai in Vietnam… etc.

      Each participant needed the silent approval of the others to do the deeds. Perhaps it's a macho thing… or co-dependence…

      Perhaps acceptable since one is doing it, it's OK and easier for the other to do it, and yet, with the other's involvement, there is a sense of less responsibilty of your actions…

      There is also the idea of rapid thought conversion (brain washing)of the group… this occurs in any hyperemotional setting.

      Read William Sargents, "The Battle for the Mind", 1962? for a complete discussion.

      Ron Hansing MD 10.29.9

    10. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      I do not believe in bad seeds, If you start early with tellingthem the rules of the family and inforce them from the beginning you might have rebelous teens but thety won't murder. Children have to learn from the beginig that their is a price to pay for bad behavior. I raised 9 children, helped raise 3 grandchilren, and I do day care, we have rules and if they are broken there is time out, or maybe you don't get your treat. My kids were normal teens but they grew up to be responsible adults. As a Nurse I did take some pyhscology, but this is common sense, instead of doting and trying to be your kids best frienm BE A PARENT.they have friends

    11. Freedom of Speech TX says:

      Dear Ron,

      While your comments are intellectually interesting, the fact remains that "juveniles" have a virtual license to kill when it comes to punishment versus "adults".

      I don't think victims care how old the criminal is when they are raped, maimed, and – for sure – killed.

    12. Ross writes from Bra says:

      Another sick puppy. I was wondering if she had ever had any religious training or just a product of government programs. Something to think about.

    13. duelles, Santa Fe, N says:

      I want to clarify. I have been to a shrink with a sociopatic relative for diagnosis and or help. It was explained that a sociopath has no conscience. Much like a president who can lie to the American people, think nothing of and sleep like a baby every night.

      The sociopath becomes a psychopath when they hurt, harm

      or damage others. So, yes, Jones is a sociopath, but more importantly she is a psychopath.

      Treatment can be putting them into a drug induced coma, bringing them out of that state and hoping they are rewired enough to function. Essentially, there is no cure.

      For your self protection everyone should read the book, " The Sociopath Next Door," by Martha Stout. You will learn to recognize this disfuntion in people you know and deal with on a daily basis. Creepy!

    14. Jerry from Chicago says:

      A mad dog is a mad dog, regarless of its age.

      Society has a right and an obligation to protect itself from mad dogs. You don't send mad dogs to the kennel for life, you destroy them.

    15. California says:

      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

    16. S. Nalls-Brock says:

      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!

    17. suzanne glasgow scot says:

      I dont believe in bad seeds, you arent born that way monkey see monkey do her mum was a crack hore and used to leave her in crack houses when she was still in nappies so she didnt just stab her father and mother for nothing her dad beat her up when she was a toddler and she was hospitalised she had a horrible life that none of us could imagine lets been abused everyday of your life you dont know what that could do to you

      • Barbara says:

        I was abused, all forms in fact. It does not make a person into a murderer or an abuser. We are all responsible for our wn actions. Only sociopaths do not care what they do to someone else. Abused or not themselves. The only righteous violence is self defense. Nothing in this given instance required self defending.

    18. DOMINIC CHATMAN says:

      I WAS BEST FREINDS WITH DEROY NALLS THE BROTHER OF THE GIRL AND IT JUST SHOWS HOW THE DEVIL USES SOULS,SO SAD………………..

    19. brianna says:

      you is a crazy azz bitch y u do dat

    20. Sherrish High says:

      I am a Criminal Justice major I'm currently doing a report about children sentenced to death in prison. I feel that children sentenced to death for a nonhomicide is cruel and unusual punishment ashley is not a case that should be over turned I can't believe a normal could be as cruel as she was to do something so horrific Wow!

    21. name says:

      not sure if its like that,

    22. Jessika, Statione @ says:

      I went to school with this girl. Shared a few classes with her, and had P.E with her. She could come across as a very energetic and loud kinda girl. Very slim, and bubbly most of the time. She did have a short temper if she didnt agree with you. I didnt know her personal life, but I was just a kid myself going thru hard times. Am I glad that this girl got what she got, yes and no. I do believe people can change, but what she did was bad. I still think about what could have been for all of us that went to school with her.

    23. , Gardendale, AL says:

      I also went to school with her at Gdale….. Ashley was always really kind to me, but it goes to show that with the wrong croud, killing is a reality. I can NOT believe what she did. Only someone so heartless could try to kill their own parents….sister….. I know when I was young, I got angry with my parents when I didn't get my way, but NEVER was killing them a thought that ever crossed my mind. People are different and I understand that, but ultimately if she is that much different then she is where she needs to be. Someone like that, if they were to get out of jail WOULD struck again and this time, no telling who the victims would be!!!!!
      But, I hope she, while in prison, will seek the Lord and change her heart.

    24. time served says:

      i was in prison serving five years on a fifteen year sentence,and lived in the same dorm with Ashley.I also served segregation days in a single cell right next to her while there.She has the same bad behavior there as she did as a child.she is not a child anymore,actually a very pretty young lady.She is one of the most evil people i knew in the Prison system.The crime fits her personality.pure evil.Thats all I will say on this.

    25. becca says:

      this is ridiculous her entire family abused her from when she was small sexually and physically her mother was a crack addict who left her in a crack den when she was a baby. she was only a product of her experiences. im sure you would no thing about other ppls experiences

    26. Fed up says:

      I get so tired of people using abuse as an excuse. Yes, I too went through it and it was no fun however murder is murder. This girl is a full blown MONSTER and she needs to really know what suffering is all about. Throw this trash into a deep well and see how long she can take it. Better yet, throw some gasoline on her and throw a lit match.

    27. Confused says:

      I agree that people use abuse as an excuse to do harm to others. When I was growing up, my dad used to whip us with a tree branch or an extension cord as punishment. Fortunately, I only got that once, but my sister, that was a weekly thing. No matter what we go through as children, nothing gives us a right to kill another human being. What Ashley did to her family was pure evil. How in the world can anyone think about forgiving evil?

      • Barbara says:

        I totally agree. Being abused does not make an abuser, if anything, once a person is abused, they know how it feels and should refrain from hurting others. Growing up, I was abused on all levels. Yet I will walk away rather than abuse a child regardless of what they may say or do to me and believe that adults can spout words without raising hands. I do not buy into the whole "product of your upbringing" if that theory were true, I'D be in jail! It's a cop out. The only ones that are a product of, are the sociopaths with no conscience, no sense of guilt or empathy. And guess what? There is not one ot there (sociopath) that should not be locked up for the sake of EVERYONE

    28. tianna says:

      what's an adult crime…obviously crimes are committed by children and adults

    29. josef says:

      this is the perhaps the only time when I think that the sentencing of this minor is fully appropriate life no parole, even if was abused it is still no reason shoot and burn someone stay in that prison and rot

    30. A Little Humanity says:

      "Throw this trash into a deep well and see how long she can take it. Better yet, throw some gasoline on her and throw a lit match."

      Seriously? And how would that make us any better than the killers themselves? The methods we choose to punish our criminals say a lot about ourselves. I'm sure there are plenty of criminals who deserve this sort of cruel punishment, but do we want to be the sort of society that dishes it out? If we do, we're really no better than the criminals.

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