Ashley Henley mug

Henley

WATER VALLEY • Local and state law enforcement officials are staying quiet regarding the investigation into Sunday night’s fatal shooting of a former state legislator.

Ashley Henley, 40, a former state representative from DeSoto County, was shot and killed June 13. Yalobusha County deputy sheriffs found her body around 10 p.m. outside a Patricia Drive address in the Water Valley Boat Landing area on the south side of Enid Lake.

According to reports, the Yalobusha County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death, with the assistance of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and the District 17 District Attorney’s office. Sheriff Mark D. Fulco has not responded to a request for information from the Daily Journal.

On Monday, Assistant District Attorney Steve Jubera told Mississippi Today that Henley had been shot and described the gunshot as “non-accidental.”

Her husband, Brandon Henley, said more in a post on the Facebook page of The North Mississippi Herald shortly after the Water Valley newspaper first reported the death, Monday morning.

“She was running a weed eater and was shot in the back of the head according to local authorities. That’s all they have told us at the moment,” he wrote in the post that has since been deleted.

Officials have not said if they believe Henley’s death is related to another death at the same location six months ago. Henley was taking care of the yard around the burned out trailer where her sister-in-law, Kristina Michelle Jones, was found dead in the early morning hours of Dec. 26.

The Henleys believed Jones died as the result of foul play and have been critical of Yalobusha County authorities, especially Fulco and coroner Ronnie Stark. After months of remaining silent, both Brandon and Ashley Henley took to Facebook in April.

“My sister was murdered and her body was burned. We know she was dead before the fire and that the fire was arson,” Brandon Henley wrote in an April 6 post. “And we didn’t find out any of that information from the Sheriff’s department.”

The same day, Ashley Henley wrote on her Facebook page that two deputies tried to intimidate them while they were attaching flowers to a makeshift memorial erected on the Patricia Drive property, which is privately owned by the Henley family. The memorial is a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood featuring pictures of Jones with the words “I WAS MURDERED” in nearly one-foot-tall letters.

“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,” Ashley Henley wrote on April 6.

Three days later, Brandon Henley said on Facebook that the coroner and sheriff’s investigator had cut off all communication with the family.

In mid-May, the family learned that the preliminary toxicology report on Jones was completed, but it would not be released until all pending investigations were completed. The death certificate issued May 21 listed the cause of death as “unknown” and the manner of death as “undetermined.”

Ashley Henley served in Mississippi House from 2016 through 2019 representing District 40, which includes Horn Lake and Southaven in DeSoto County.

A GoFundMe account has been set up by DeSoto County state legislator Dan Eubanks to assist the family with the funeral expenses. By Wednesday afternoon, $8,900 of the $10,000 goal had been raised.

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