Neighbor charged with arson in fire where former state rep’s sister-in-law found dead

Former Mississippi state Representative Ashley Henley was shot dead in the yard of the burnt out trailer where Kristina Michelle Jones, her husband’s sister, was found dead in December 2019. No arrests have been made in either death.

A Mississippi man has been charged with setting a 2019 trailer fire where a former Mississippi state representative’s sister-in-law was found dead.

The arrest comes less than a week after the former lawmaker — Ashley Henley — was found shot to death in the yard of the burned out trailer.

Fox 13 Memphis said Billy Brooks, who lived across the street from the Water Valley trailer where Kristina Michelle Jones and Henley were found dead, has been charged with arson, according to Yalobusha County Assistant District Attorney Steven Jubera.

Jubera said the district attorney’s office would have a statement about the arrest on Monday.

Jones was the sister of Henley’s husband, Brandon Henley. She was found dead in the bedroom of the trailer on December 26, 2019, as CrimeOnline previously reported. The Henleys had been outspoken in their belief that Jones was murdered, although an autopsy was inconclusive on the cause of her death.

“The fire investigators did confirm it was arson, and the crime lab did confirm that there was no smoke in her lungs when she was found, so she was dead before the fire,” Brandon Henley told WREG.

According to the Mississippi Free Press, Ashley Henley posted a copy of Jones’s death certificate on social media on May 24. The “immediate cause” of death was listed as “unknown” and the manner of death was “undetermined.

“ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE – My family waited 5 months for this?! … To those Granted #PublicTrust and Responsibility for Ensuring #Justice For All – You may think this is over and your job is done, but you are mistaken,” she wrote. “This is only the beginning. I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth.”

The Henleys erected a wooden sign that read “I WAS MURDERED” in front of the trailer where Jones’s body was found. And then, on June 13, Ashley Henley was at the trailer taking care of the property when she was shot in the back of the head.

“There was a weed eater in close proximity to the body,” Jubera told the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

Ashley Henley, a Republican, was a teacher before she won a 2015 election to represent DeSoto County in the state House. She served until losing a 2019 reelection bid by 14 votes. Y’all Politics reported that she was employed as a legislative fellow for the Mississippi Center for Public Policy at the time of her death.

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[Featured image: Ashley Henley/GoFundMe; Facebook]