Former Mississippi rep Ashley Henley was found murdered on June 13 in Water Valley, Mississippi as shot in the head, execution style, at the same property where her sister-in-law was found dead in her home
Now a friend of the GOP politician says she was ‘on the verge of uncovering something very bad’ about her sister-in-law’s death at burnt out trailer before she was killed – as suspect is arrested for arson but NOT murder
Henley’s sister-in-lay Kristina Jones was found dead in a burnt out trailer on Dec 26
Ashley and her husband Brandon Henley had spent months fighting to prove that his sister was murdered
Several people close Re. Henley have said they believe her death was linked to her public campaign to figure out the truth about what happened to Jones
Among them is Mississippi Rep Dana Criswell, a friend and former colleague of Ashley’s, who said she was ‘on the verge of uncovering something very bad’
‘Her words to me was, “They may kill me, but I’m not giving up. I’m going to find the truth,”‘ Criswell said
These details emerged as police charged Jones’ neighbor, Billy Brooks, with arson for allegedly starting the fire that burned down the trailer where Jones’ body was found
However, Brooks, 43, is not being charged in Jones’ death. Her death has not been declared a homicide
A friend of the former Mississippi lawmaker who was shot fatally shot on the same property where her sister-in-law’s body was found six months earlier has shared fears that she may have been killed because she was close to finding the truth about what happened to her sister-in-law, Kristina Michelle Jones.
Ashley Henley was found murdered by a gunshot to the back of the head on June 13 near the burnt out trailer in Water Valley where her sister-in-law Kristina Jones’ body had been discovered in a burnt out trailer on December 26.
For months Ashley battled to prove that Jones had been murdered and accused police of botching the investigation – before the mystery took an insidious turn when she was killed while tending to the lawn at the property. The body was found by a man who lives in her neighborhood lying in the grass, between a weedeater and a chair.
Several of Ashley’s loved ones have come forward to share their suspicions that her death was linked to her public campaign to figure out the truth about what happened to Jones.
Among them is Mississippi Rep Dana Criswell, a friend and former colleague of Ashley’s, who said she was ‘on the verge of uncovering something very bad’ about Jones’ death before she was murdered.
‘Her words to me was, “They may kill me, but I’m not giving up. I’m going to find the truth,”‘ Criswell told the Daily Beast.
His account came as police arrested 43-year-old man for allegedly starting the fire that burned down the trailer in which Jones’s body was found. Billy Brooks, a neighbor of Kristina Michelle Jones, has been charged with arson after the December 26, 2020 fire where her body was found inside her trailer. However, Brooks is charged with arson ONLY. He is not being charged in Jones’s death, which has not been declared a homicide.
Jones’s autopsy report described her body as ‘charred,’ but with no sign of suffocation from smoke, meaning that she may have already been dead when the fire started.
Brandon Henley, Jones’s brother and Ashley’s husband, told the Daily Beast that Brooks was Jones’ ex-boyfriend and lived across the street from her.
‘My sister was a great person,’ Brandon said. ‘She had a great heart. She just couldn’t get her priorities straight.’
‘She liked to have fun, she liked to party. She played the game, you know what I’m saying? She had men taking care of her, she was dating multiple men. My sister was not doing things she was supposed to be doing.’
Brooks is being held at the Yalobusha County Detention Center.
Ashley and Brandon Henley created a memorial at the site of the burned trailer, including a giant sign that reads, ‘I WAS MURDERED.’
Brandon said if law enforcement found out who killed his sister, then his wife would be alive today.
‘I feel that if something would have been done sooner this would have never happened,’ Henley told WJTV on Monday, a day after his wife was shot dead.
Police haven’t said if his wife and sister’s deaths were related, but Brandon believes the suspect is the same killer.
‘I have my own theory and the police do too and he is a suspect and there was someone taken in for questioning apparently last night,’ Brandon told WJTV, but didn’t elaborate on who ‘he’ is.
Ashley Jones, a Republican who served in the state House from January 2016 to January 2020 – described a hostile run in with Yalobusha County deputies from the sheriff’s office in an April 6 Facebook post.
She said two deputies ‘attempted to intimidate me’ and ‘threatened to arrest me for refusing to allow them to take my lawfully holstered, concealed firearm without probable cause.’
‘We have been silent long enough,’ Ashley said in the Facebook post.
‘For the past three months my family has held ourselves close, grieving in secret, to cooperate with the requests of the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Department as they proclaimed to be working on the investigation into the murder of my sister-in-law, which occurred at approximately 1:30AM on December 26th, 2020.
‘We have been nice. We have cooperated. We have respected the process and been patient … NOW, we demand answers. We will not be intimidated. We are not going away. We will not back down. We will not be silent any longer. My sister-in-law deserves #JUSTICE.’
In a May 24 Facebook entry, State Rep. Henley posted a copy of her sister-in-law’s death certificate on social media, that listed the cause of death as ‘unknown’ and manner of death as ‘undetermined.’
‘ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE – My family waited 5 months for this?!’ she wrote.
On June 13, Henley is believed to have been cutting the lawn outside the burnt-out trailer when she was shot in the back of the head. During the Fox13 interview, her husband vowed not to back down.
‘You don’t go after women. You don’t go after innocent people. It’s disgusting, he told Fox13. ‘You took a mother from a 15-year-old boy, a daughter, and another mother and then you’re scared you are going to take someone else from another family,’ Brandon Henley said.
Six months after burying his sister, Brandon Henley is preparing final arrangements for his wife Ashley. Meanwhile her colleagues put together a memorial tribute on Facebook and set up a GoFundMe.
Republican state Rep. Dan Eubanks of DeSoto County, Mississippi, who set up the online fundraiser, wrote in a Facebook post on Monday that he was heartbroken and angry about Henley’s death.
‘What an absolute loss to our state, county, me personally, and most importantly her dear family,’ he said. ‘Please pray for her husband and son and their extended family… and that God’s justice will be served on those responsible.’
The DeSoto County Republican Party honored Ashley in a Facebook post, calling her a ‘dedicated public servant’ and tagging Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch.