Trial begins for Cape Coral stripper connected to 1997 homicide

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Opening statements got underway Monday in the trial of Michelle Ashley, a woman accused of being involved in the murder of a U.S. Marine.

Prosecutors say that former Marine Keith Jones visited Ashley while she was working at Lookers, a local strip club. Jones then checked in to the Tides Motel with Ashley on June 18, 1997.

The next day, hotel manager Roger Patel checked the room and found Jones dead.

“Mr. Jones was shot in the head with a contact shot. Contact shot means the gun was touching the skin or was right against the comforter which was touching his head,” said the prosecutor’s attorney.

When Ashley was first questioned, prosecutors say she claimed four people had robbed and killed Jones.

The state says that four masked men killed Jones and that Ashley set up the crime.

“The defendant had the conscious intent to participate and insight to help the robbers. She’s equally as responsible,” said the prosecutor’s attorney.

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Ashley’s defense attorney said that the four men that were identified were never questioned or arrested. The defense also claims Ashley wasn’t tape-recorded in her initial statement.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Woman arrested in 1997 murder of Marine in Fort Myers motel

“They’re trying to justify they didn’t tape it. Twenty-five years later, we’ve got detectives trying to remember what she said,” said Ashley’s attorney.

The defense argues that Ashley is a victim of kidnapping herself.

The defense also says Ashley was friends with the victim. “Why set up a robbery of someone close?” her attorney said.

Tags: Fort Myersmurder

 

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