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.

Ashley Diane Hoath was arrested in con­nection with the death of Jeremy Barron.
HCSO | Courtesy

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.