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Teen Sentenced to Life in Prison

April 14, 2001

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ A judge sentenced a 16-year-old girl to life in prison without parole Friday for murdering her grandfather and aunt and trying to kill her grandmother and sister.

Ashley Jones was convicted in March. She could not be sentenced to death because she was 14 at the time of the killings in 1999.

In a jail interview with the Birmingham News before the sentencing, Jones said:

``I’m not as bad a person as everybody thinks. I mean, they portrayed me as the devil or something, which is untrue.″

Prosecutors said Jones planned the attack with boyfriend Geramie Hart so they could runaway together using her grandfather’s car and $300 stolen during the crimes.

Hart is awaiting trial. Jones said she can’t explain what happened.

``I just say it happened. I don’t know the reason, for real,″ she said. ``I just lost touch with reality. When all that was happening, it wasn’t me. I feel like something possessed me.″

Jones’ 78-year-old grandfather, Deroy C. Nalls, died after being shot, stabbed and set afire in the den of his home. Her aunt, Millie Nalls, 30, was shot and stabbed to death.

The girl’s grandmother, Mary Nalls, survived a gunshot, stabbing and being set ablaze. Jones’ 10-year-old sister, Mary, was beaten and stabbed about 15 times but lived.

Jones told the paper she got the idea for setting a fire to cover up evidence from a television show, ``Melrose Place.″

Prosecutor Laura Poston compared Jones to mass murderer Ted Bundy.

``The devil just got in her,″ Jones’ grandmother said.

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