Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Sex in the Suburbs: The Death of Ashley Burg

'An Appalling Lack of Remorse'

Homicide detectives were immediately called in to investigate. Within days they were able to trace Ashley's movements on the last weekend of her life, and David Downey became their prime suspect. A search of his house yielded sofa cushions with an embossed star-pattern similar to the star impressions found on Ashley's leg.

The area of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
The area of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Because Downey lived in Montgomery County, where the crime appeared to have occurred, investigators there pursued their own investigation. They discovered that Downey had a long history of keeping company with escorts. He had hired one girl 50 times within a two-year period and another girl nearly 30 times. They also learned that four days after Ashley Burg's body was found, Downey had visited a Philadelphia gentlemen's club called Delilah's Den, where he bragged that he was a Navy SEAL and caused a disturbance.

Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor, Jr.
Montgomery County District
Attorney Bruce L. Castor, Jr.

Nearly five months after Ashley's death, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office had assembled enough evidence to go to a Grand Jury. One of the pieces of evidence they presented was the autopsy report, which stated that Ashley had died of cocaine poisoning.

Ashley had ingested cocaine "in excess of what an overdose is," Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor, Jr. said. Her autopsy showed that she had taken "massive amounts of cocaine .... many more times than what it takes to kill a person," he added.

The fact that Downey had gone to a strip club four days after Ashley's death did not sit well with the Grand Jury. His indictment stated that "the Grand Jury finds this [his visit to Delilah's Den] to be evidence of Downey's appalling lack of remorse for the death of Ashley Burg."


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