Ashley Diane Hoath, 27, pleaded guilty to second degree murder on Oct. 31 — days before she was supposed to testify in a jury trial regarding the murder of 37-year-old Jeremy Alan Barron. The details of the plea bargain have not been released.
A group of Amish children found Barron’s body in April, while riding their horses through a wooded area near Reading. Shortly after being arrested, Hoath admitted to police that she wanted Barron dead.
She told police in a recorded interview that he was an abusive boyfriend who took her children from her. According to police records, she said she sat by while her friend Jay Clark shot Barron four times in the back of Clark’s Chevrolet Tahoe.
“‘Tell her you are not going to hurt her again,’” Hoath recalled Clark saying to Barron in a police document.
When Barron didn’t reply, Hoath said Clark looked at her and asked “Get her done?”
“Yeah, get her done,” Hoath responded, before four gunshots rang out.
On Oct. 5, Hoath requested a motion to suppress these statements and others made before and after her arrest. Hoath’s attorney, Zach Rusk, said in a court testimony that his client had not slept in the two days leading up to an interrogation led by Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Nathan Horan, who used a polygraph, or lie detecting machine, at Hoath’s request.
Horan testified at the hearing and said Hoath was obviously lying about not being involved with Barron’s murder, scoring a negative 18 on the polygraph compared to the American Polygraph Association’s dishonesty standard of negative 4.
“I said cut out the act, and let’s talk about this,” Horan said in a court testimony.
Horan said shortly thereafter, Hoath began confessing and it seemed like a “weight had lifted from her chest.”
During cross examination, led by Hillsdale County Prosecutor Neal Brady, Hoath denied conspiring to murder Barron with Clark. She said she felt pressured to give into Horan because of his aggressive interrogation tactics.
“I just wanted it to be over with,” Hoath said, who now faces up to life in prison. “He was verbally attacking me.”
After allegedly shooting Barron, Clark dumped his body in the woods and burned the rifle and backseats of his truck to hide the evidence. He faces charges of first degree murder or open murder, using a firearm to commit a felony, concealing the death of a person, and carrying away a corpse. If convicted of first degree murder, he will serve a life sentence in prison. A charge of open murder leaves it to the jury to determine the appropriate degree of the crime.