Rocky Mountain House young mother died trying to protect her sister

·3 min read
Ashley Ames shown with her son, who was four years old at the time of her death in July 2019.  (Brittany Hunter/This Life Photography - image credit)
Ashley Ames shown with her son, who was four years old at the time of her death in July 2019. (Brittany Hunter/This Life Photography - image credit)

Ashley Ames died on the floor of her townhouse kitchen in Rocky Mountain House on July 26, 2019, shot twice in the head while trying to protect her sister Alexis Ames.

On Monday, Marshall Stone, the former common-law partner of Alexis, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Red Deer Court of Queen's Bench. Stone pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Alexis, and guilty to unlawful use of a firearm against her.

Details of the domestic violence case are included in an agreed statement of facts that was entered as an exhibit.

In July 2019, Stone, Alexis and Ashley lived in a townhouse with the three children, aged four, seven and 10, they had between them. Alexis had two children, Ashley was the mother of one.

According to the court document, Stone stopped at a friend's house after work on July 26, 2019, and drank between five to eight beers during the afternoon and evening. He arrived home around 7 p.m. and got into an argument with Alexis.

Ashley was out of the townhouse, picking up some dinner for her son.

The three young children were in the living room next to the kitchen watching television when Stone went downstairs to his bedroom and got a rifle and ammunition. He brought the weapon back into the kitchen.

By that time, both sisters were there.

"Marshall pointed the rifle at Alexis, and Alexis deflected the rifle up toward the ceiling," the court document states.

Facebook/Alexis Ames
Facebook/Alexis Ames

Alexis put some distance between her and Stone, moving toward the refrigerator. Stone discharged his rifle but she was not hit.

The two sisters began screaming at Stone as he reloaded and again pointed the refile at Alexis.

But Ashley stepped between them.

"Marshall discharged the rifle at Ashley and struck her with a .22-calibre round to her face through her left eye," the document states. "Ashley then fell to her knees crying."

The children ran out the back door, screaming for help.

Alexis picked up a chair and used it to hit Stone. There was a brief scuffle and Alexis suffered a cut to the right side of her head before she ran out the front door.

She told RCMP that her sister was inside the townhouse, alive and crying.

Second shot was fatal

Marshall Stone fired his weapon one more time.

"Marshall turned to Ashley who is now lying on her stomach on the kitchen floor," the court document states. "Marshall discharged a second .22-calibre round into the back of Ashley's head."

By the time RCMP arrived, Stone was gone. He'd left the rifle on the kitchen table with a round partially in the chamber. After calling a friend, he turned himself into the Rocky Mountain House RCMP detachment and was taken into custody without incident.

According to the court document, he told officers he had little memory of the shooting.

RCMP described the homicide as a "domestic violence situation."

Paramedics were unable to revive the 28-year-old Ashley. An autopsy later determined that she could have potentially survived the first shot but the second was immediately fatal.

Stone, now 46, remains in custody. Stone faces an automatic life sentence for the second-degree murder plea, with parole ineligibility between 10 and 25 years.

His lawyer requested a pre-sentence report as well as a Gladue report, which provides the court with background on Indigenous offenders' personal histories to consider in sentencing.

He'll be sentenced on Oct. 5.

The victim's family did not reply to requests for comment.

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