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Homicide, Arson Costs on Maintain in Killing of Former Mississippi Legislator

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi prosecutors have dismissed indictments in opposition to a person within the capturing loss of life of a former state lawmaker and the sooner burning of a constructing, saying they want extra time to analyze.

The homicide and arson fees in opposition to Billy Lamar Brooks have been dismissed with out prejudice, which implies a grand jury may contemplate new fees later, in keeping with a doc filed Friday in Yalobusha County Circuit Courtroom.

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Republican former state Rep. Ashley Henley, 40, was shot to loss of life in June 2021 outdoors the burned-out cellular house in a rural space the place her sister-in-law, Kristina Michelle Jones, was discovered lifeless in December 2020.

“After reviewing the case for trial, attorneys for the State requested extra time to totally examine and evaluation this matter,” mentioned the doc signed by an assistant district lawyer and Circuit Choose Smith Murphey.

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The doc mentioned it’s “not doable to estimate the timeframe wanted to finish this investigation,” however prosecutors may current the case to a grand jury in some unspecified time in the future.

Brooks’ lawyer, Bradley Peeples, declined to remark Wednesday on this newest improvement. He instructed The Related Press that Brooks has been out on bond since final yr.

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Henley and different relations contended Yalobusha County authorities have been doing too little to look at doable felony fees in Jones’ loss of life. Family put up a home made signal on the cellular house web site with pictures of Jones beneath the phrase, “I used to be murdered.”

Yalobusha County coroner Ronnie Stark mentioned Henley had been mowing grass on the web site earlier than she was killed.

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Brooks, who lived close to Jones, was indicted in February 2022 on a cost of maliciously setting hearth to the house of Jones and Terry Henley. Courtroom information present that on June 30, 2022, a grand jury filed a brand new indictment in opposition to Brooks so as to add a homicide cost within the loss of life of Ashley Henley.

Investigators mentioned Henley`s physique had been discovered on June 13, 2021. The dismissed indictment accused Brooks of killing her on or about the identical day.

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Ashley Henley served within the Mississippi Home from 2016 to 2020 in a district in DeSoto County, about 70 miles (115 kilometers) north of the place she was killed. She was a instructor earlier than she was elected to workplace, and she or he typically took her younger son to the state Capitol throughout legislative periods.

Henley sought a second time period in November 2019 and misplaced by 14 votes to a Democrat. She challenged the election outcomes, saying she believed she had discovered some voting irregularities. A bipartisan Home committee held a public listening to on her problem and unanimously dismissed her request for a brand new election.

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Photograph: Former Mississippi Rep. Ashley Henley, R-Southhaven, talking on instructor pay in 2019. (AP Photograph/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Copyright 2023 Related Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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