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Husband says murder suspect is innocent

Detective says woman confessed to crime


The estranged husband of a 23-year-old pregnant woman in jail on a murder charge said his wife did not shoot and kill a Mullinsville man Sunday morning and he hopes the authorities find the real killer or killers.

However, a detective with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office said Ashley Seagraves, of 214 1/2 Pearl St., Ironton, is a self confessed killer and there is no need to look any farther for who killed Delmar Jenkins, the 53-year-old man who lived on Township Road 323 in rural Lawrence County.

Seagraves is accused of going to Jenkins’ Elizabeth Township home at approximately 5 a.m. Sunday and shooting him in the head while he slept. Authorities haven’t released a motive.

T.J. Seagraves said Wednesday that he and Ashley Seagraves have been separated several months, but he had hoped to reconcile and work out their problems since a baby is on the way. The couple also have another child that is cared for, he said, by his estranged wife’s mother.

T.J. Seagraves said he is sure Ashley Seagraves did not commit the crime.

“Until they show me proof she did it…” he said.

While some eyewitnesses have told police they saw a pregnant woman running from Jenkins’ house after the shooting, the husband said other witnesses have told him two men were seen leaving the house.

However, Detective Aaron Bollinger said Ashley Seagraves confessed to the crime when she was taken into custody and there are eyewitnesses putting her at the scene. Bollinger said authorities have never heard anything about two men leaving the scene.

“She made a full confession,” Bollinger said.

The estranged husband disputed claims about his wife made by members of Jenkins’ family after an arraignment Monday in Ironton Municipal Court. Some members of the Jenkins family disparaged Ashley Seagraves to the media, calling her “trash.”

“Anyone who would go in and do something like that to a man,” Jenkins’ sister, Joyce McClellan said Monday afternoon.

“Anyone who knew him knew he was a good man,” McClellan said.

T.J. Seagraves said those attacks against his wife were unfounded.

“She’s a good woman, not this evil thing they’re making her out to be,” the man said.

He also disputed claims the Jenkins family did not know his wife; he said the two families have known each other for years.

Asked about Ashley Seagraves’ alleged drug use, T.J. Seagraves agreed she has a problem but said they were going to get her some counseling. The man said his wife had used oxycontin for a lengthy period.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said Wednesday that an incident that morning during which Ashley Seagraves allegedly tried to choke a jail matron was probably the result of the woman’s withdrawal from illicit drug use.

“She seems to not be rational right now,” Lawless said of the pregnant woman’s behavior.

Bollinger said a family member found Jenkins in bed and suffering from “substantial head trauma” just after 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

The man was taken by medical helicopter to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where it was discovered the head trauma was from a gunshot wound. He was placed on life support but died at approximately 5 a.m. Monday morning.

T.J. Seagraves said he was sorry for the loss of Delmar Jenkins but defended his wife in the face of the murder charge.

“My condolences for the loss of their family member but they don’t need to put her out there like she is this evil person,” he said. “She is not this evil person.”

Ashley Seagraves remains in the Lawrence County Jail on a $250,000 cash bond. Attorney Warren Morford was appointed to represent her and a preliminary hearing was set for 9 a.m. today. The woman also faces outstanding warrants in Kentucky but the nature of those charges were not immediately available.