Jessica Burlew was a sixteen year old from Arizona when she murdered a man she was having sex with. According to court documents Jessica Burlew would wrap an electrical cord around the forty three year old victims neck and strangle him. Jessica Burlew told police it was an accident however she would ultimately be charged with murder. This teen killer would plead guilty to second degree murder and be sentenced to ten years in prison.
Last NameFirst NameMiddle Initial BURLEW JESSICA D
Gender Height (inches)Weight Hair Color FEMALE 64168 BROWN
Eye Color Ethnic Origin Custody Class Admission BROWN CAUCASIAN Close/High 10/23/2015
Projected Eligible Release Date Prison Release Date Release Type 11/21/2024 ERCD
Most Recent Location As of Date Complex Unit Last Movement Status PERRYVILLEAS PC-PV LUMLEY UNIT 10/08/2020 ACTIVE
Jessica Burlew, a Glendale teen accused of killing 43-year-old Jason Ash during a sex act gone wrong, was sentenced to 10 years in state prison today.
Jessica Burlew had accepted the state’s plea bargain last month — pleading guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a 10-year sentence — and today, Judge Scott McCoy reviewed the mitigating factors put forward by the defense and agreed to the terms of the deal.
“I know there’s been a great deal of debate about this case, but today is not the day for debate,” McCoy said before reading his sentencing decision. “Despite the very unusual circumstances of this case . . . there are a considerable amount of mitigating [factors], so much so that it justifies reducing the sentence down to 10 years.” (A second-degree murder charge can bring up to 25 years in prison.)
McCoy gave Jessica Burlew credit for the 644 days she’s already served in a Maricopa County jail and reminded her that she has 90 days to file a petition for post-conviction relief should she believe there was an error in the way her case was handled.
Overall, it was an emotion-filled final day in court for what has been a complicated and often controversial situation:
In January 2014, Jessica Burlew — who was 16 at the time — told police that she accidentally strangled Ash, the older man she met online and had been involved with sexually, after he asked her to choke him. She said she didn’t stop because he never said the “safe word.”
As New Times detailed in the May cover story, The Deepest Cut, when Jessica Burlew realized that Ash was non-responsive, she cut his body with a razor blade in what she says was an attempt to revive him. According to the police report, she later clarified that the first cut “was an attempt to get a reaction to see if he was still alive or if he would wake up,” and that the subsequent ones were to “get things clear in her mind.”
Jessica Burlew then called her mother, Tracey Woodside, who was nearby cleaning her vehicle. Woodside rushed back to the apartment, saw Ash’s body, and immediately dialed 911. By the time police arrived, Burlew had fled the scene. She came back hours later and was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
In the time since Burlew’s arrest — most of which has been spent in solitary confinement — her case has inspired a great deal of controversy. She has a strong and vocal group of supporters in the group Free Jessie B., who are furious about the way her case has been handled.
Burlew’s advocates also maintain that she, not Ash, is the true victim in the situation. They point to the age difference, the fact that she was not of legal age to consent to sex, and that Ash helped her access drugs — mostly heroin and meth— as proof that Ash was a sexual predator. And they point to her mental-health issues, self-mutilation, and the myriad ways the state’s social safety nets failed Burlew as proof that Ash would still be alive if she had been cared for properly.
In speaking to the judge this morning, Marcia Ash, Jason’s mother, acknowledged that both her son and Burlew are “victims” in this situation — Jason because he “died in such a horrible way” and Burlew because “she fell through the cracks [of society]” — but stated boldly that while her son “wasn’t perfect and didn’t always make the best choices . . . he was not a pedophile or a sexual predator.”
Marcia Ash went on to say that while strangling someone could be construed as an accident, the type of “unimaginatively horrific post-mortem mutilation” Burlew inflicted on her son’s body could not — and she placed much of the blame on Burlew’s mother, Tracey Woodside, who also was in the courtroom.
Woodside, who declined to comment for this article, watched the sentencing from the back of the room, rarely taking her eyes off of her daughter. She decided not to make a speech in front of the judge but could be seen wringing her hands, the same way her daughter sometimes does, as both Marcia Ash and prosecutor Jay Rademacher spoke.
“The state acknowledges the substantial mitigating factors: her upbringing, her mental-health problems, the drugs . . . However, there other other factors to consider,” Rademacher said. “The defendant was engaged in adult activities, and she needs to face adult consequences.”
He also disputed the notion that Jason Ash was any sort of sexual predator: “If you look at the texts [between Ash and Burlew], they don’t paint a picture of a child molester . . . Jason seemed like a little puppy dog that would do anything for Jessica.”
At this comment, Woodside and her friend sitting next to her exchanged frustrated glances.
“I understand the age of consent, but this defendant lied about her age [and] she initiated a lot of the drugs, mutilation, and sex [in the videos retrieved from her cell phone],” Rademacher added. He ended his remarks by calling the situation a “recipe for disaster” and saying, “This wasn’t an accident, because at the end of the day, Jessica was holding the cord around his neck, and she killed him.”
Ashely Meyer, Burlew’s public defender, spoke next. She called the plea bargain the “final and best plea offer” and listed seven mitigating factors she wanted the judge to consider before sentencing Burlew:
1. That Burlew was only 16.
2. That she has no prior felonies on her record.
3.That she didn’t have the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of her actions because of the drugs he gave her.
4. That she has an extensive history of substance abuse.
5. That she has significant mental-health issues and had a dysfunctional childhood.
6. That the slaying was not premeditated and was, in fact, the result of a consensual act.
7. That the relationship between Burlew and Ash was completely inappropriate.
“He was 43, she was 16,” Meyer said. “Both are victims of different crimes.”
Before announcing his sentencing decision, McCoy gave Burlew a chance to speak:
“He also lied about his age,” she replied. “He said he was 26 on the internet site where we met, then he said he was 28. He kept saying he was 28, and I believed it.”
While at her last court hearing, Jessica Burlew looked disorientated and upset, today she appeared calmer. As the court bailiff led her out of the courtroom, she looked back over her left shoulder and gave her mother a little smile.
Woodside, who had tears in her eyes at this point, continued to stare at the tall wooden door of the courtroom long after her daughter was out of sight.
A Glendale teen accused of strangling a man to death during sex was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday.
Jessica Burlew, now 18, was charged as an adult with second-degree murder.
The charge stems from the death of her boyfriend, Jason Ash, 43. His body was found in a Glendale apartment in January 2014.
Jessica Burlew pleaded guilty to the charge last month. She was 16 at the time of the incident, but prosecutors charged her as an adult.
Jessica Burlew reportedly told her mother that she and Ash were playing sex games and he was cut and choked. She said Ash did not say the “safety word,” the documents stated. Burlew told police that they would often engage in such acts prior to consensual sex.
Jessica Burlew told police that after she strangled Ash, she began cutting him with a razor blade in an attempt to get a response since he appeared to have passed out, according to the court documents. After she didn’t get a response, she said she continued to cut him in order to alleviate her stress from the situation.
Burlew’s mother said the teen has a history of cutting herself “as a release,” according to the court paperwork.
Supporters of Burlew say she was a minor sexually victimized by Ash and the death should have been considered accidental. Sex with a minor is a felony under Arizona law.
A Glendale teenager accused of killing her older lover during rough sex was sentenced to 10 years in prison Oct. 20.
Jessica Burlew, 18, pleaded guilty to killing Jason Ash Jan. 18, 2014, after he was found dead in Burlew’s bed with an electrical cord wrapped around his neck. He also had cuts on his arms and face, believed to be caused by a razor. She had accepted the state’s plea deal last month.
“I know there’s been a great deal of debate about this case, but today is not the day for debate,” Judge Scott McCoy said before reading the sentencing verdict Oct. 20. “Despite the very unusual circumstances of this case, there are considerable amount of mitigating factors, so much so that it justifies reducing the sentence down to 10 years.”
Burlew could have received up to 25 years in prison for the second-degree murder charge.
Police were called to the home in January 2014 after a 911 call where Ash was found, but Burlew, who was 16 at the time, was not present when officers arrived.
Burlew’s mother, Tracey Woodside, said Burlew had called her after leaving the scene and told her that Ash was dead in her bed.
She was found in a nearby apartment, where she admitted to the killing and that it was an accident.
Burlew told police that the two had normally participated in choking during sexual intercourse and that Ash had not motioned to stop the choking during the fatal encounter.
She was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with 644 days credit for the time she has already served in jail.