Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Police: Lesbian Couple Confessed to Beating, Burying Ex Alive

Ashley Barber, 18. Jade Olmstead, 20. Police photos.

Pennsylvania State Police say lovers Jade Olmstead, 18, and Ashley Barber, 20, confessed to the May murder of Brandy Stevens, 20. Stevens’ remains were discovered in a shallow grave near a house in Wayne Township.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday, State Trooper Eric Mallory told the court that the two women admitted to luring Stevens, who was previously romantically involved with Olmstead, to the home where Olmstead lived with Barber and Barber’s parents. There, Mallory said, they beat and strangled Stevens before rolling her, still alive, into a makeshift grave they had dug earlier. According to Mallory, the duo confessed to hitting Stevens with a shovel and stuffing a hat into her mouth to muffle her screaming. Once she was in the grave, they allegedly poured water on her face and bashed her head with a rock. They then allegedly buried the hat and the rock with her, and later burned some of her belongings along with their own bloody clothing. An autopsy revealed Stevens had died from suffocating on dirt.

After they were arrested, Barber and Olmstead allegedly told police that Stevens’ father had killed her because he disagreed with her sexual orientation, but confessed when police told them they’d found the body. They are charged with homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide and will be arraigned in Crawford County Court on August 24.

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