Warning: Graphic details in this story will be disturbing to some readers.
Young Rocky Mountain House mother Ashley Ames died on the floor after being shot twice in the head while trying to protect her sister, Alexis.
On Monday, Alexis’ former common-law partner, Marshall Lawrence Stone, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Ashley, 28, in Red Deer’s Court of Queen’s Bench.
Stone pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of Alexis Ames, and guilty to the unlawful use of a firearm.
The domestic violence incident occurred on July 26, 2019 at a townhouse in Rocky.
According to an agreed statement of facts that was entered as a court exhibit, Stone had drank between five and eight beers during the afternoon and evening, arriving home at 7 p.m.
He got into an argument with his then partner, Alexis, in the kitchen of their townhouse as three children — belonging to the couple, as well as the young son of Alexis’ sister Ashley — watched TV in the living room.
Stone went downstairs to get a rifle and ammunition as Ashley arrived at the townhouse, after picking up dinner for her son.
Both sisters were in the kitchen when Stone pointed the rifle at his partner Alexis.
Alexis deflected the weapon up towards the ceiling, according to the court documents, and then moved towards the refrigerator as Stone discharged his rifle. She was not hit.
The two sisters began screaming as Stone reloaded the rifle and pointed it at Alexis — but Ashley stepped in front of her sister.
“Marshall discharged the rifle at Ashley and struck her with a .22 calibre round to her face through her left eye,” states the document.
“Ashley then fell to her knees crying.”
As the children ran out the door, calling for help, Alexis hit Stone with a chair. In a brief struggle, she received a cut to her forehead before escaping out the door.
Alexis told RCMP officers that her sister was still inside the townhouse, alive and crying.
But Stone soon returned to Ashley, “who was lying on her stomach on the kitchen floor and discharged a second .22 caliber round into the back of Ashley’s head.”
Stone then left the gun in the townhouse and fled.
Emergency workers found Ashley without vital signs. A later autopsy found that the first shot through her eye was potentially survivable, but the second shot instantly killed her.
After calling a friend, Stone turned himself in to the Rocky RCMP detachment and was taken into custody. He was co-operative and told police he had little memory of the shooting.
Stone faces a life sentence without parole eligibility between 10 and 25 years for second-degree murder.
This week, his lawyer presented the court with a Gladue report, which provides background on Indigenous offenders’ personal histories for consideration in sentencing.
Stone will be sentenced on Oct. 5.