Ex-Lawmaker Who Believed Sister-In-Law Was Murdered Killed At Same Site Six Months Later
‘I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth,’ Ashley Henley wrote on social media weeks before she was fatally shot.
An ex-state legislator searching for answers in what she insisted was the murder of her sister-in-law in a trailer was shot dead while visiting the same site six months later.
On December 27, 2020, in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, the scorched body of Kristina Michelle Jones was found in her bedroom inside the home that had burned down.
An autopsy report showed the fire victim’s airways were free of soot despite the body being charred from flames. The medical examiner listed her cause of death as “unknown” and the manner “undetermined,” according to Commercial Appeal.
The report allegedly states multiple substances, including benzodiazepines, an anti-depressant and an antipsychotic, were in Jones’ system at the time she died.
"She was a good person, she just got on the wrong foot and apparently got mixed up with some really bad people," Brandon Henley said of his sister, according to the news outlet. “She had three, beautiful kids who thought the world of her and she was trying to get her life back right.”
Jones’ loved ones became frustrated with what they claimed was Yalobusha County authorities’ apparent lack of interest in investigating the case. Desperate for answers, family spray-painted “This was arson and murder" and "Justice will be ours” on the trailer and began their own investigation into what happened.
“It was 14 days after my sister was murdered, and we still had not heard anything from the sheriff's department,” Henley explained. “So I went down there, me and my wife, and we had Freedom of Information Act requests. They won't even acknowledge them. We can't get incident reports [from the fire or sheriff's department.]”
On May 24, Henley’s wife, former Mississippi state Rep. Ashley Henley, wrote on Facebook about her sister-in-law’s death: “I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth.”
The case then took another tragic turn on June 13.
That morning, Ashley Henley, 40, drove from her home in Southaven to Water Valley, so she could add to a sign in front of the burnt-out trailer that featured photos of Jones and the words “I WAS MURDERED.”
That evening, Brandon Henley said, he phoned his wife because she should have been on her way home and he hadn’t heard from her.
“I got no response, so I called my mom. I figured she had left her phone in the car and was talking to her. But my mom said she hadn't seen her. I knew then that something was wrong,” he told Commercial Appeal.
A family friend went to the property and discovered the Henleys’ truck. Yalobusha County deputies were called to the scene and located the missing woman, who detectives reportedly determined was fatally shot in the back of the head while mowing the grass.
“My wife died fighting for justice for my sister,” Brandon Henley said.
“I really believe that what happened was, she continued to pursue certain leads and she ruffled some feathers and somebody wanted to put an end to that search,” the shooting victim’s former colleague, Mississippi state Rep. Dan Eubanks, told WLBT. “It’s obvious that it was an execution-style murder. Somebody wanted her dead. They didn’t rob her, they didn’t take any of her stuff. … They killed her and just moved on.”
On June 18, the sheriff’s department announced they had arrested Jones’ ex-boyfriend and neighbor, 42-year-old Billy Brooks, and charged him with arson, the DeSoto Times-Tribune reported. He is being held without bail.
Authorities said they are actively investigating both women’s deaths.