A former Mississippi state lawmaker was murdered Sunday outside a burned-out trailer where her sister-in-law was found dead only months ago. Ashley Henley—a Republican who represented District 40, including parts of DeSoto County, from 2016 to 2020—was shot and killed while mowing the grass outside the trailer in the Water Valley Boat Landing community of rural Yalobusha County, reports Mississippi Today. Her body was found around 10pm, hours after she'd arrived. Henley's sister-in-law, Kristina Michelle Jones, was found dead inside the burned trailer on the property at the end of December. Henley and her husband, Brandon Henley, had spoken of the death as murder and erected a large sign at the site to that effect, though authorities were apparently unable to determine a cause of death. Assistant District Attorney Steven Jubera says both deaths are under investigation.
Brandon Henley wrote on Facebook that his wife "was found murdered in the same place my sister was," per the Mississippi Free Press. He said authorities told him "she was running a weed eater and was shot in the back of the head." He tells WREG that he believes the same person killed both women. Ashley Henley had expressed frustration at the lack of progress in the investigation into Jones' death in recent weeks, vowing to "leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth," per the Free Press. The 40-year-old former adjunct American history instructor at Northwest Mississippi Community College also described a prior encounter with sheriff's deputies at the trailer, saying they'd "threatened to arrest" her "for refusing to allow them to take my lawfully holstered, concealed firearm without probable cause." Jubera says there's no sign Henley's death is tied to her work in the Legislature. (Read more Mississippi stories.)