Guilty Plea and Life Sentence for Murder - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Guilty Plea and Life Sentence for Murder

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A guilty plea and a life sentence today for a young Crawford County woman charged with the brutal beating death of another woman 18 months ago.

 Twenty-one year old Ashley Barber was ordered to spend the rest of her life behind bars for the May 2012 murder of 20-year old Brandy Stevens. Co-defendant Jade Olmstead also pleaded guilty and received a life sentence earlier this month.

 In court today, Barber said she was sorry. But an aunt of the victim called her an evil and immoral person. District Attorney Francis Schultz said the motive was Stevens' previous romantic relationship with Olmstead.

 He said, "It appears to me that is was their way of showing each other and proving to each other how committed they were to their relationship. They felt Brandy Stevens was a threat to that relationship and they wanted to eliminate her."

 Schultz also said the case stands out because of brutal nature of the crime.

 He said, "What they did to this woman was unspeakable. The violent nature of beating her head on a stump, strangling her with a rope, hitting her with a shovel, burying her alive. I have never seen something like that."

 The defense attorney said Barber agreed to plead guilty to spare the victim's family and her own family the trauma of a long trial.

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