General Crime

* Aaron Ashley Convicted of Murdering His Girlfriend Latrice Grayson and Her Unborn Child

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A former postal worker was sentenced today to 32 years to life in state prison for murdering his pregnant girlfriend and her unborn child at her home in Oakland last Sept. 7. Aaron Ashley, a 34-year-old Richmond man, was convicted on June 4 of two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of 24-year-old Latrice Grayson and her unborn child at 912 W. MacArthur Blvd. Jurors deliberated for only a day and a half before reaching their verdict. Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay gave Ashley the maximum sentence possible, choosing to have Ashley serve his time for the two murders consecutively rather than concurrently. Prosecutor Casey Bates said he asked Clay to give Ashley the harshest possible sentence because “the crime was horrible” and left Grayson’s mother without her daughter and her surviving five-year-old son without his mother.  In addition, the son suffered “devastating” emotional carnage when he discovered Grayson’s dead body, Bates said. In his closing argument in Ashley’s trial, defense lawyer Darryl Stallworth admitted that Ashley killed Grayson but said he should only be convicted of voluntary manslaughter because he acted in the heat of passion. Stallworth said that’s because Ashley, who has a wife and three
children, testified that he lost control of himself when Grayson, who was eight and a half months pregnant, told him that he wasn’t the father of her unborn child. But Bates said he thinks that the evidence in the case indicates that the reason Ashley killed Grayson, using a pair of scissors, is that she wouldn’t get an abortion or give up the child for adoption.  Bates said that when Ashley finally called police many hours after he stabbed Grayson, he said, “My baby’s mother has been stabbed.”  Ashley wouldn’t have made that statement if Grayson had just told him that another man was the father, Bates said.  Bates said after the verdict that jurors told him that they decided not to convict Ashley of first-degree murder because they didn’t think he premeditated killing Grayson but they also ruled out manslaughter because they thought there was “no legal excuse” for killing her. The prosecutor said he thinks a key factor in Ashley’s trial was the testimony of Grayson’s surviving son, who was only four years old when she was killed. The boy discovered Grayson dead on her couch surrounded by a pool of blood and with ants covering her face. He told police that Ashley had attacked Grayson with scissors and put a pillow over her head. Stallworth couldn’t be reached for comment on the sentencing. Bates said that even though he’s glad that Ashley got the maximum sentence possible based on his convictions, “I’m left feeling kind of hollow.”  He said, “You can get justice in court but the tragedy continues.”  Bates said,
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