Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

Brian Lewis MJIA.jpg

You can listen to U.S. Navy veteran Brian Lewis’ March 13, 2013 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel here.

“Nearly 30 years ago, when George H. W. Bush was president and Dick Cheney was the secretary of defense, the Pentagon made a promise to our service members. Dozens of Navy and Marine Corps aviation officers had just been investigated for the infamous Tailhook sexual assault scandal, and America’s military leadership affirmed a “zero tolerance” policy toward sexual assault within their ranks. The military had a sexual assault problem, and pledged to solve it.

It’s painfully clear that the military has now failed at this mission by almost any metric. For years, survivor after survivor has told us the change in the system we needed to make to end this scourge — the same change that a number of our allies around the world have already made: take the adjudication of these crimes outside of the chain of command and allow trained military prosecutors to prosecute them.” Read more opinion at Military Times here.

“The Military Justice Improvement Act would take the prosecution of sexual assault and other serious crimes, such as murder, out of the chain of command. It would keep those crimes in the military justice system, but put the decision to prosecute them into the hands of actual military prosecutors who are trained to deal with complex legal issues.” –Senator Kirsten Gillbrand (Military Times, July 1, 2019)

Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System  -Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)

Related Links:
Pass the Military Justice Improvement Act @SenGillibrand
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 [Full Text]
Comprehensive Resource Center for the Military Justice Improvement Act
Sens. Cruz, Gillibrand Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Udall, Heinrich Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act To Address Crisis Of Military Sexual Assault
Leahy Joins Gillibrand And Others To Reintroduce Military Justice Improvement Act
Hirono Wants To Change How The Military Prosecutes Sexual Assault
Senator Martha McSally’s Responsibility to Survivors of Military Sexual Assault
McSally defends keeping military commanders involved in sexual assault cases
Gillibrand: “Status Quo” Not Working With Military Sexual Assaults
Veterans for Peace: Sexual Assault on Military Members Press Conference, Seattle, Washington (August 11, 2006)
Jamie Leigh Jones Testified at the House Judiciary Committee Halliburton/KBR Iraq Rape Case Hearing (December 19, 2007)
HOR Oversight Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs Held a Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military (July 31, 2008)
Former Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA) Introduced the Holley Lynn James Act (April 12, 2011)
Lauterbach Case Prompts Policy Reforms for Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military (December 25, 2011)
Sexual Misconduct Allegations at Lackland AFB | C-SPAN (January 23, 2013)
Panetta Is Lifting Ban On Women In Combat Roles (NPR, January 23, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 1 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Sexual Assault in the Military, Part 2 | C-SPAN (March 13, 2013)
Gillibrand Leads Bipartisan Coalition to Reform Military Justice System [Full Video] | Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (May 16, 2013)
Gillibrand Builds Bipartisan Support for Change of Military Justice Code (May 16, 2013)
S. 967: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 – U.S. Senate Voting Record (March 6, 2014)
The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained (June 8, 2016)
Sexual Assault in the Military | C-SPAN (March 6, 2019)
S. 1789: Military Justice Improvement Act of 2019 Reintroduced by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (June 13, 2019)
Senate Armed Services Committee Members & House Armed Services Committee Members (June 21, 2019)
Gillibrand: The Military Justice Improvement Act Would Give Service Members a Justice System That Works (July 1, 2019)

Scorned, Love Kills: 7 Military & Veteran Homicide Cases Featured on Investigation Discovery (October 31, 2018)

Full Episode: An Army Major lay lifeless in his bed, shot twice at close range while sleeping next to his wife. Investigators would soon uncover an intricately planned murder plot involving sex parties, adultery and coercion. -Behind the Picket Fence, Scorned: Love Kills (S1, E1)

Army Major David Shannon Fatally Shot by Step Daughter Elizabeth While Sleeping in N.C. Home; Wife Joan Shannon Guilty of Conspiracy, Sentenced to Life, No Parole (July 23, 2002)

ID Go: The young and wild Monique Wallace is married to 40-year-old Paul Berkley, a navy reservist and father of two in suburban North Carolina. But with Paul leaving on a mission overseas, temptation and lust will lead them all down a dark path to murder. -Rules of Engagement, Scorned: Love Kills (S2, E7)

Navy Reservist Paul Berkley Murdered by Wife Monique & Friends in North Carolina while Home on Leave from Middle East, SGLI was the Motive (December 18, 2005)

ID Go: Drew Peterson and his wife Kathleen appear to be a happy couple, but ten years into their marriage, things begin to sour. And when Kathleen finds out Drew is having a steamy affair with a 17-year old, a brutal fight breaks out, and ends with murder. -Black Widower, Scorned: Love Kills (S2, E17)

Drew Peterson Had 40 Years Added to His Prison Sentence After Plotting a Murder-For-Hire (June 13, 2018)

ID Go: Fred and Jennifer have a picture perfect marriage. But when Fred meets Danielle, a young doctor in the Navy, Jennifer fights to keep Fred for herself. The love triangle explodes, leaving police struggling to understand a grisly crime scene. -Naval Affairs, Scorned: Love Kills (S3, E1)

Navy Lt CDR Fred Trayers Fatally Stabbed by Jealous Wife Angered by Infidelity with Fellow Navy Doctor; Jennifer Trayers Sentenced to 16 Years to Life (December 4, 2010)

ID Go: Sexy psychologist and doting Air Force wife Michelle begins a swinging affair with Army Sgt. Diamond while her husband, Captain Marty Theer, is away. But all’s fair in love and war, and Marty’s return will remind them that love is a battlefield. -Sergeant Swinger, Scorned: Love Kills (S4, E1)

Air Force Capt. Frank ‘Marty’ Theer Murdered by Wife Michelle & Army SSG John Diamond in North Carolina; Both Sentenced to Life in Prison (December 17, 2000)

ID Go: American soldier Megan Touma has left her husband for her lover Edgar. Turns out Edgar has a spouse of his own. When Megan gets pregnant Edgar must make a decision between two women. Someone will be left brokenhearted and someone will be left dead. -Love is a Battlefield, Scorned: Love Kills (S5, E2)

Fort Bragg Army Soldier Edgar Patino Murdered Army Specialist Megan Touma & Unborn Son After Argument, Sentenced to 16-20 Years in Prison (June 21, 2008)

Preview: While Kathy Lipscomb spends late nights at the hospital with the handsome Dr. Pearle, her husband’s career in the Air Force is taking off, but so is his relationship with a hot young officer. When the affairs are exposed the consequences are fatal. -Sex, Secrets & Sergeants, Scorned: Love Kills (S5, E5)

Air Force MSgt William Lipscomb Murdered his Wife Kathleen After She Threatened to Expose his WAPS Promotion Cheating Scam (June 9, 1986)

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
About the Show | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery
The Swinger Marriage | Scorned: Love Kills (Preview)
Sex Helps Wife Plan Murder | Scorned – Love Kills (Preview)
Behind the Picket Fence | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S1, E1)
Rules of Engagement | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S2, E7)
Monique Berkley | Snapped | Oxygen (S8, E8)
Black Widower | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S2, E17)
Naval Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S3, E1)
Sergeant Swinger | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S4, E1)
Michelle Theer & John Diamond | Killer Couples | Oxygen (S8, E5)
Fayetteville | Sins & Secrets | Investigation Discovery (S2, E3)
Love is a Battlefield | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S5, E2)
Two Couples, Two Dangerous Affairs | Scorned: Love Kills (Preview)
Sex, Secrets & Sergeants | Scorned: Love Kills | Investigation Discovery (S5, E5)
True Lies | Forensic Files | FilmRise (S8, E27)

A Month in Review: In the News on Military Justice for All (July 2018)

July 2018

Missing:
‘I’m alive and I love you’: Parents of missing Navy sailor get a text from his phone two days after he disappeared
Disappeared: Stacy McCall, Suzie Streeter, and Sherrill Levitt are ‘The Springfield Three’ who Vanished from Levitt’s Missouri Home on June 7, 1992
Rogest Cain | Unsolved Mysteries
Disappeared: Disabled Army Veteran Joseph Weber IV Missing from San Francisco, California Since November 24, 2014

Cold Cases:
10 Unsolved Military Cases
Cold Case: Army Veteran Kanika Powell Shot Several Times at Doorway of Maryland Home, No Known Suspects At This Time (2008)

Fugitives:
Reward Offered for Armed & Dangerous Fugitive: Army Recruiter John Blauvelt Wanted for Allegedly Murdering Estranged Wife in South Carolina (2017)

Reward Offered:
FBI, Army offering $20K for info in murder of soldier’s wife on Georgia base

Petitions:
Petition for (400) Amerasians Still Left Behind in Vietnam

Continue reading

48 Hours CBS Premiered ‘Murder in Pinyon Pines’: An Investigation of the Cold Case Murders of Becky Friedli, Jon Hayward & Vicki Friedli in California (July 28, 2018)

A family murdered in their home. Years later, an arrest but then the two suspects are unexpectedly freed. “48 Hours” Troy Roberts reports. -CBS New York (January 16, 2015)

Drew Friedli recites a poem her sister, Becky, left on Myspace, before her murder in 2006. Drew feels the poem, “If I Knew It was the Last Time,” encompasses who Becky was because she always let people know that she loved them. -48 Hours (January 16, 2015)

Saturday, Aug. 1 starting at 9/8c on CBS: A triple murder, a young woman set afire in a wheelbarrow. Police have suspects until a courtroom twist changes everything. Then at 10/9c: Was an alleged religious cult responsible for a young bride’s death? -48 Hours (July 28, 2015)

The new district attorney for Riverside, California, has promised to look at the Pinyon Pines murder cold case with “an open mind.” “48 Hours” correspondent Troy Roberts discusses the case with CBSN. -CSBN (July 31, 2015)

A triple murder, a young woman set afire in a wheelbarrow. Police have suspects until a courtroom twist changes everything. “48 Hours ” has the latest on the case including an emotional verdict Saturday, July 28 at 10/9c on CBS. -48 Hours (July 27, 2018)

Related Links:
Murder in Pinyon Pines | 48 Hours (full episode 2015)
Murder in Pinyon Pines | 48 Hours (full episode 2015 2)
Murder in Pinyon Pines | 48 Hours (full episode 2018)
Murder in Pinyon Pines | 48 Hours Podcast
48 Hours Preview: Murder In Pinyon Pines
Sister reads one of Becky Friedli’s last postings on social media
Preview: “48 Hours” double feature
“48 Hours” probes Pinyon Pines triple murder case
Sneak peek: Murder in Pinyon Pines
Murder in Pinyon Pines | 48 Hours
Men charged in Pinyon Pines triple-murder for second time in two years
Pinyon Pines mystery: 3 murdered, set on fire in remote desert community
Pathologist reveals autopsy findings in Pinyon Pines murder trial
Tape reveals details of defendant’s, victim’s relationship in Pinyon Pines triple murder trial
Witness: Accused RivCo Killer Not Violent, ‘Best Person’ Ever
Pinyon Pines murder trial: Everything you should know about the case
Key witness in Pinyon Pines triple murder trial speaks out
2 men found guilty in 2006 Pinyon Pines murders
Two Men Guilty in Family’s Gruesome Pinyon Pines Murder
Anger and Joy After Guilty Verdicts in Pinyon Pines Triple Murder Case
Pair who murdered Pinyon Pines family to be sentenced
Pinyon Pines murder case: Defendants sentenced to life without parole
Pinyon Pines murders: Pair kill, burn family-of-three—discarding slain teen’s charred remains in wheelbarrow
Becky Friedli, Jon Hayward & Vicki Friedli Found Dead at Burnt Down Pinyon Pines Home in California; Cristin Smith & Robert Pape Sentenced to Life in Prison, No Parole (September 17, 2006)

Fear Thy Neighbor Premiered ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ on Investigation Discovery: Mark Tatum Ambushed Neighbor David Allen in Louisville, Kentucky Home (July 28, 2018)

ID Go: A man who is meticulous about his lawn runs into conflict with a new neighbor who doesn’t have the same priorities. The feud between the two men viciously escalates, ultimately ending in an episode of shocking violence. -Dead Men Tell No Tales, Fear Thy Neighbor (S5, E9)

Mark Tatum fatally shot his neighbor and Army veteran David Allen, 67, on June 1, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky after a long, protracted neighborhood battle. Tatum shot through the windows of Allen’s home and then shot him fatally while he was fleeing to safety in his backyard. Tatum used a silencer so the shots went unnoticed until David’s wife Sue returned home and found her husband lying dead in the backyard. Considering the pair’s long standing feud, Mark Tatum was immediately a suspect. Police found weapons and ammunition in his home and located Mark at a friend’s house, arrested him, and charged him with murder. Prosecutors believed that Mark acted with the intent to kill. Four years after shooting and killing David Allen, Mark went to trial and was found guilty of his murder in 2016. Mark Tatum was sentenced to 35 years in prison and has to serve at least 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole. David’s wife Sue moved to California to be with family after her husband was murdered. David Allen met his wife Sue while serving in Korea with the U.S. Army.

Editor’s note: With a cable subscription, you can download the free ID Go app and watch all of the Investigation Discovery programming at your convenience. And for those who do not have cable, you can watch “unlocked” episodes on the ID Go app including the latest premieres. Download the ID Go app and binge away. For those who prefer commercial free programming during your binge session, Prime Video has an ID channel: ‘True Crime Files by Investigation Discovery” available for $2.99 a month. It’s a compilation of older seasons but totally worth the cost if you are a true crime addict.

Related Links:
Obituary: David Thomas Allen, Louisville, Kentucky (June 1, 2012)
Man charged with murder, victim identified
New details released in connection with Gagel Avenue slaying
Man indicted after allegedly killing neighbor
Mark Tatum trial expected to begin
Man accused of killing neighbor to appear in court
Testimony to resume for man accused of killing neighbor after feud
Sentencing for man who fatally shot Gagel Avenue neighbor delayed
Louisville man headed to prison 4 years after shooting neighbor
Louisville man headed to prison 4 years after shooting neighbor
Mark Tatum v. Commonwealth of Kentucky (2016)
Watch! Fear Thy Neighbor “Dead Men Tell No Tales” Season 5 Episode 9 Full Episode
Sneek Peak: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Fear Thy Neighbor (Facebook)
Fear Thy Neighbor | 28 Jul 2018 | Season 5 Ep.09 “Dead Men Tell No Tales” Full HD
Dead Men Tell No Tales | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (S5, E9)
Dead Men Tell No Tales | Fear Thy Neighbor | Investigation Discovery (website)
Watch Fear Thy Neighbor | Season 5 Episode 9 | SheKnows

Deadly Power Premiered ‘Lackland Military Scandal’ on Oxygen: Virginia Messick Recounts Experience in Air Force Basic Training (July 23, 2018)

When 19-year-old Virginia joined the U.S. Air Force, a superior officer’s sexual abuse turned her lifelong dream into a daily nightmare. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

When Sergeant Walker began harassing Virginia, his powerful military rank kept her from speaking out against his appalling behavior. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Sergeant Walker isolated Virginia and assaulted her in an Air Force dorm room. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Virginia fought for justice not just for herself, but also for nine other victims who suffered Walker’s abuse. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Virginia experienced PTSD from the sexual abuse she suffered at Lackland Air Force Base. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Virginia explains the extreme intensity of Air Force basic training. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Colonel Don Christensen left the Air Force after 23 years to dedicate his career to eradicating sexual assault in the military. -Lackland Military Scandal, Oxygen (S1, E1)

Related Links:
Deadly Power: Preview – An Air Force Academy Nightmare (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Preview – The Abuse Escalates (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Preview – Trapped By A Predator (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Preview – Virginia’s Day In Court (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Bonus Clip – Virginia’s Lasting Trauma (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Bonus Clip – Surviving Basic Training (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen
Deadly Power: Bonus Clip – Fighting For Change (Season 1, Episode 1) | Oxygen

Snapped Premiered ‘Ashley Schutt’ on Oxygen: Wife Convicted of Premeditated Murder of Husband Gregg Schutt, Sentenced to Life in Prison (July 22, 2018)

Full Episode: When a woman covered in blood shows up on her neighbor’s doorstep, Georgia police commence a home invasion investigation that leads them to uncover more twists than they could have ever imagined. -Ashley Schutt, Snapped (S23, E27)

On July 25, 2009 in Lawrenceville, Georgia, Ashley Schutt called the police and told them a black man raped her and killed her husband Gregg Schutt. Gregg was a described by friends and family as a gentle giant and very sweet mannered. Gregg met Ashley at his place of employment; she was a customer. Ashley was described as quiet, timid, withdrawn, and scared to talk. But for some reason, Gregg drew Ashley out of her shell and they started dating. And in the spring of 2000, Ashley and Gregg decided to get married. Ashley graduated from high school and the two got married within a week of her graduation. Gregg wanted to provide for his family so he decided to enlist in the Army in the winter of 2001. After graduating basic, he went to San Antonio for training as a veterinary tech. He loved his job and Ashley liked being an Army wife. Over the next few years, his job would take them all over the world. They were stationed in Nebraska, Kansas, and Japan. Gregg did really well in the military and was looking forward to a great future in the military. But then Ashley’s health took a turn for the worse.

Ashley was diagnosed with diabetes and it was hard to control so she had to take insulin shots. She also gained a significant amount of weight and was having problems with her heart. She was literally on the verge of having a heart attack. Ashley’s was sent to Hawaii for specialized care and the doctors were concerned about her long term medical well-being. They thought she would be better off if she stayed in the United States where she could get treatment. Ashley moved to Atlanta, Georgia in July 2004 and after Gregg was discharged from the Army in December 2004, he moved to Atlanta to be with Ashley. The couple used their savings and purchased a home in Lawrenceville, Georgia. But Gregg struggled to find steady civilian work and Ashley’s medical bills were piling up. Gregg was depressed because he couldn’t provide for his family the way he wanted to. In order to make ends meet, the couple rented out one of their rooms to a young woman named Deidre. The rent money helped stabilize their money problems. Then in 2008, Gregg found work at a nearby veterinary clinic and a few months later Gregg received a small inheritance after his grandmother passed.

The money came just in time for Ashley because doctors said she needed radical weight loss surgery to solve some of her healthcare issues. Gregg didn’t hesitate to pay for the surgery and Ashley lost a lot of weight. Ashley literally transformed and was half the size she was before. She felt more confident and outgoing. Over the next several months, Ashley and Gregg’s life appeared to improve. Gregg still loved his job and Ashley’s health finally stabilized. After Ashley found a steady job at a call center, the pair was ready for their roommate to move out. They saved some more money and Ashley was ready to have a child. But on July 25, 2009, Gregg was murdered. When police arrived, they found Ashley covered in blood. She was able to give a brief statement but it appeared she had just gone through a traumatic event. Ashley told the police the attack began shortly after 3 a.m. and the suspect was an unknown black male. She said Gregg told her someone was in the house. And then a black male entered their bedroom and immediately started stabbing Gregg. Ashley also said the man raped her and made her watch as he killed her husband.

The police’s primary concern was Ashley’s safety and medical status. While Ashley was being treated, police intensified their search for the attacker and examined the crime scene. Gregg was stabbed multiple times and beat in the head with a hammer. His wrists and throat were also cut. This was a prolonged, sustained attack on him and his body was in horrible condition. There was a lot about the crime scene that didn’t make sense. There was no ransacking of drawers or evidence that anyone was looking for anything of value. The entire room was also drenched in water. They found the cell phones hidden in the microwave so if Gregg did escape, he wouldn’t be able to find his cell phone. This was not a normal crime for this particular neighborhood. There were no witnesses to the events and nobody saw anything unusual. Meanwhile, Ashley’s condition improved and she wanted to amend her initial statement. This time, she said there were two black men who entered the home. The two men were wearing yellow hoodies and grabbed knives from the kitchen. Gregg started fighting with the guys to protect Ashley.

Ashley began to provide more detail in her second statement. She said two black men stormed the house and brutally murdered her husband and raped her. She claimed the two black men used Gregg’s sex toys to rape her and they kept stabbing Gregg while they were raping her. She said the attackers asked Gregg how he wanted to die. Then they made her fill a bucket of water and forced her to dump it down Greg’s throat in an attempt to drown him. Ashley says after hours of painful torture, they decided to finish Gregg off with a claw hammer. Ashley said she had to witness Gregg die and described in detail what she observed as he was dying. She thought they were going to kill her next but they spared her life because they didn’t murder women. The police had to ask themselves why were Ashley and Gregg targeted to begin with? They know crime can happen anywhere but it didn’t make sense why the suspects chose this house, this time of day, and this family to terrorize. The detectives know they always have to consider alternative theories because if you get stuck on one theory and don’t give possibility to the others, you may be doing an injustice.

Police theorized this crime could have been drug-related if they were looking for cash and it also could have been some marital strife where an outside party is involved. Detectives started looking into Gregg and Ashley’s inner circle to see if they could find some leads. They started with the roommate and found out the roommate did drugs but Gregg and Ashley weren’t happy about having drugs in their home. Ashley and Gregg together decided Deidre needed to move out and Deidre wasn’t happy about it. She felt betrayed because her and Ashley were friends. Deidre admitted leaving the house on bad terms but after a few months Deidre and Ashley made up and became friends again. Deidre told detectives if they were looking for answers, they needed to look at Gregg. She said Gregg was physically and verbally abusive to Ashley when she was living with them. He was also very aggressive and impatient. Detectives checked the records to see if there were any domestic disputes on file but found no documented physical abuse. Although fear of the abuser and what it will do to the family often prevents victims from reporting.

When police spoke to Ashley’s parents, they confirmed there was trouble in the relationship from the beginning. They said Gregg was controlling and didn’t want Ashley to do her hair or make up or even leave the house. They said Ashley told them he said she was fat and ugly and no one wanted her. As the years went on, the abuse seemed to get worse. Ashley was having frequent suspicious “accidents” and they felt a lot of her health problems were because of Gregg. They said she lost hair because of the stress and gained the weight because of the way he treated her. According to Ashley’s parents, two weeks before Gregg died, Ashley said she wanted to leave Gregg but was afraid of what he would to do her. Ashley claimed Gregg told her if she tried to leave, he would slit her throat before she cleared the garage door. Ashley’s dad told her to call a divorce attorney and make sure she didn’t say anything to him. Ashley’s dad didn’t want her to pay the price because he wasn’t sure what that price may be. The police had to ponder was Gregg’s death a result of Ashley’s growing fear of Gregg and this somehow pushed her over the edge.

Ashley told one of her friends that she was definitely afraid and felt like she couldn’t leave. The detectives knew from experience that married couples sometimes don’t get along and there was a good possibility that Ashley was the suspect. Less than 24 hours after Greg was found dead, the detective’s focus was beginning to change. Ashley was changing her story, there was no forced entrance, the doors were locked from the inside, the crime scene was confined to the master bedroom, and there were no valuables taken. The crime scene didn’t match the story. They also found wedding bands and a torn picture of the couple on the floor. They thought maybe they found their motive so they went to the hospital and met with the trauma nurse who treated Ashley. Here they learned that there was no trauma and Ashley wasn’t raped. The detectives wanted to meet with Ashley again and this time she admitted her initial statements were fabricated. She told the detectives she was a battered wife and she killed Gregg. She said after she returned home from work, he was going to hit her and she told him if you hit me, this is going to be the last time.

Ashley said she threw her rings on the floor and started packing her bags. She said Gregg came at her with a knife in hand so she grabbed a claw hammer sitting on the dresser and fought back. She said she hit him on the head until he dropped the knife. She then grabbed the knife and ran, and when he came at her, she accidently stabbed him. She then admitted after years of pent of rage, she lost control and stabbed him multiple times. Now police were tasked with investigating if this was a justified act of self defense. They checked the cellphone records to see if they could learn more. They learned that moments before the attack, Gregg was online with one of his friends. The friend said Gregg told him Ashley was home so he had to go. Everything appeared normal. Gregg’s friend also said if anyone was abusive, it was Ashley. He said after Ashley lost her weight, she was pushy and overbearing with Gregg. She also controlled his time and what he was allowed to do. Greg’s friend said she was not a very pleasant person. The police theorized boredom rather than abuse may be what was driving her away from Gregg.

The police learned that Ashley had been dating Gregg since high school. They thought maybe she wanted to start over with her new body and be single. Honestly, the cops were not sure what the real motive was. When the autopsy results were released, it showed that Gregg didn’t have any defensive wounds, therefore Gregg was most likely asleep at the time of the attack. Gregg also had a high dose of Ambien in his system but Ashley was the one with the prescription, not Gregg. Police theorized that after Gregg passed out, she killed him while he was most vulnerable and unable to defend himself. The autopsy results revealed that Gregg was stabbed almost 40 times and beaten about the head with a hammer. The police now had evidence of a premeditated attack and as a result, Ashley was charged with first degree murder. News of the arrest was polarizing. Some knew immediately she did it. Her parents weren’t shocked by the news but didn’t believe she was guilty of murder. On April 25, 2011, Ashley Schutt’s trial for the death of her husband in 2009 started in a Gwinnett County courtroom. Ashley was facing life in prison.

In their opening statements, prosecutors asserted after Ashley’s life changing weight loss surgery, she yearned to start a new life without Gregg. But instead of filing for divorce, Ashley drugged him and killed him to be free of him forever. Ashley testified in her own defense and said she was a battered wife who killed in self defense. She said she went through years of hell with a controlling and domineering man who would rather see her dead than leave him. On cross examination, prosecutors asked Ashley about the sleeping pills found in Gregg’s system and the lack of defensive wounds. Ashley’s demeanor began to change while she was on the stand and all of a sudden she was snapping back. The jury agreed that Ashley killed Gregg with cold hearted premeditation and she was found guilty on all counts. Ashley Schutt received a life sentence with parole after thirty years. She was also given an additional 35 years for aggravated assault, possession of a knife during the commission of a crime, and false statements. As of 2018, Ashley’s appeal for a new trial has been denied twice. She is currently appealing her case to the Georgia Superior Court for the third and final time.

Source: ‘Ashley Schutt’ Snapped

Ashley and Gregg Schutt shared a seemingly happy life until a brutal murder exposed the dark underside of their relationship. -Ashley Schutt, Snapped (S23, E27)

Gwinnett police officers describe the events of July 25, 2009, when Gregg Schutt was found dead in his own home. -Ashley Schutt, Snapped (S23, E27)

During interrogation, murder suspect Ashley Schutt claimed that her late husband Greg was an abusive spouse. -Ashley Schutt, Snapped (S23, E27)

Related Links:
Murder in Georgia: Former Sterling woman’s trial begins
Journals, friends paint marital contrasts in Schutt murder trial
Mother: Daughter was emotional mess from marriage
Lawrenceville woman convicted in husband’s murder
Life sentence for Sterling native
Ashley Schutt v. State of Georgia (2013)
Wife’s murder conviction upheld
Life sentence upheld against woman who stabbed husband 38 times while he slept
Snapped: Preview – Secrets And Lies (Season 23, Episode 23) | Oxygen
Snapped: Preview – A Horrendous Crime (Season 23, Episode 23) | Oxygen
Snapped: Bonus Clip – Interrogating Ashley (Season 23, Episode 23) | Oxygen
Ashley Schutt | Snapped | Oxygen (S23, E27)
Watch Ashley Schutt on Snapped (Oxygen)