Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sex in the Suburbs: The Death of Ashley Burg

A Man Who Knows No Boundaries'

In five days of testimony, jurors heard accounts of Downey's penchant for drugs and prostitutes as well as his heartless indifference toward the fate of Ashley Burg.  After summations by defense attorney Egan and Assistant District Attorney Samantha Cauffman, the jury was sent out to deliberate.  It took them only five hours to come back with a guilty verdict for drug delivery that resulted in death.

Downey's face registered no emotion as the verdict was read, but as the gravity of his situation sunk in, he "increasingly looked glum and numb," according to the Inquirer.

Afterward, Downey's attorney said that while Ashley suffered an "unfortunate, tragic death," he maintained that she was not "some kind of 17-year-old novice" as she was portrayed by the prosecution and that Downey was not a callous killer.

But ADA Cauffman reiterated the state's case, saying that Downey was indeed a "malicious murderer" who gave Ashley cocaine, then "watched her die and threw her out."

David F. Downey
David F. Downey

On September 27, 2006, Downey returned to Judge Hodgson's courtroom to face sentencing.  He expressed his "deepest sympathies" to Ashley's family and said that he would "give his right arm to trade places with Ashley."  However, he did not take responsibility for Ashley's death and continued to call it an "accident."

Judge Hodgson took note of Downey's refusal to accept responsibility.  Commenting on Downey's "narcissistic lifestyle," the judge said, "You, Mr. Downy, are a man who knows no boundaries." Hodgson went on to say that Downey had tossed out Ashley's body as if it were "an empty bag of cocaine ... nothing more than an inconvenience that needed to be disposed."

The judge then sentenced him to 8 ½ to 17 years in prison.

During the hearing, Ashley's aunt, Pam Schrieber, was allowed to make a statement before the court.  She faced her niece's killer and told him point blank, "I hope your daughters never come into contact with someone like you."

 

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