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Slain Beaver Twp. woman was buried alive, DA says

Published: Thu, July 26, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

2 held in Beaver Twp. resident’s death could face death penalty after Nov. trial





By Ashley Luthern



A preliminary hearing against two women charged with killing 20-year-old Brandy Stevens of Beaver Township revealed a chilling detail.

“The opinion of the forensic pathologist is that she died as a result as suffocation. ... There was a rope tied around her neck. Unfortunately, it appears she was buried while still breathing,” said Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz.

Stevens, of South Avenue, was found May 23 buried in a shallow grave a few hundred yards away from a Cochranton, Pa., residence. Ashley Marie Barber, 20, and Jade Nichole Olmstead, 18, both of Cochranton, are charged with criminal homicide, criminal conspiracy to commit criminal homicide, and tampering with evidence.

Barber and Olmstead made their first court appearance Wednesday for a preliminary hearing, also known as a probable-cause hearing.

The hearing determined the case should proceed to the Crawford County Court of Common Pleas for trial. The trial is scheduled for the November term of criminal court, and if convicted, the women could face the death penalty, Schultz said.

Schultz said he has until Aug. 24 to file a motion seeking the death penalty.

The district attorney said much of Wednesday’s hearing centered on the defendants’ statements given to police. The coroner’s final report and autopsy were released during the hearing, too.

The autopsy found that Stevens suffered from multiple blunt-force trauma and injuries, the district attorney said.

“She had 15 lacerations to the scalp, a skull fracture and abrasions, contusions and lacerations all over her trunk,” Schultz said.

Stevens, a Youngstown State University student and Boardman High School alumna, had left her Beaver Township home May 17, and her grandparents reported her missing two days later. An investigation by Beaver Township police and Pennsylvania State Police led to the discovery of her body at 29558 Drake Hill Road in Cochranton, where Olmstead and Barber resided.

Police have said that Olmstead was friends with Stevens at one point, and The Vindicator’s broadcast partner, WFMJ-TV21, reports the motive was unresolved grudges from the relationship.

Pennsylvania state troopers said Barber and Olmstead have admitted their role in the killing.


1doowoptokidrock(325 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

Give those 2 freaks the death penalty.

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2DAWABBIT(30 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

In the northern reaches of Crawford County lies Sugar Lake, formed by glaciers during the ice age. Farms and hills surround the lake. This is a peaceful area and a good place to live. Lake Creek Road circles the lake and then follows the outflow down the valley. Hill Road cuts south from Lake Creek Road on the eastern end of the lake. Drake Hill Road intersects with Hill Road and the girls lived at that intersection. The residents of the area may be on the jury that decides the fate of Jade Olmstead and Ashley Barber. Most are sayimg that slayings like this just don't happen here. It did and they will have to decide how to deal with it.

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3Attis(1134 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

why the seclusion of the bloody details of this horrific murder by these lesbians?:

Brandy M. Stevens, 20, was still alive but probably beyond feeling pain when a woman she had loved helped to bury her.

Jade N. Olmstead, 18, and her new lover, Ashley M. Barber, told police that they invited Stevens to their Cochranton-area home on May 17 and then savagely beat and choked her and buried her in a grave they had waiting, state police Trooper Eric Mallory testified during a preliminary hearing for the two women Wednesday.

Both will stand trial on charges of homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide, Vernon Township District Judge Michael Rossi ruled. Mallory testified that Barber and Olmstead admitted to the killing and described their relationship and their relationship to the victim in separate interviews with police.

Olmstead greeted Stevens and lured her into the woods near the home that she shared with Barber and Barber's parents in Wayne Township, to see a crude fort that she and Ashley Barber were building. Barber was hiding there. At the fort, the two women began punching and kicking Stevens and stuffed a "Saw" cap into her mouth to stop her pleading for her life and screaming.

"They said they were freaking out from her screams," Mallory said.

Stevens was knocked to the ground by the two women. Barber put a rope around her neck and strangled her while Olmstead alternately hit her in the head with a shovel and helped to choke her, Mallory said.

Barber also repeatedly pounded Stevens' head against a stump and told police that a bruise on her own forehead came from head-butting Stevens' besides.

"She was on the victim's back with her knee in her spine, pulling her head back with the rope ... and letting it hit the stump," Mallory said.

The two women rolled Stevens into a shallow grave that they had prepared for her at the fort. When they saw that she was still breathing, they threw a large rock onto her face and poured water into her mouth and nose

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4kensgirl(1060 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

If ever two people needed the death penalty these two do. I say wrap them in a burlap bag and let the rats have at them.

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5Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

If this isn't a death penalty case, then what is? These 2 are not human.

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6DwightK(1537 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

I kind of like life without parole. They're 18 and 20. Let them rot for the next 50 or 60 years in a tiny little cell.

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7whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

I'll go with Dwight, but I would have them strapped to a gurney, only fed food through a tube,and release body fluids through a tube. No Visits , No Zoom , Zoom's or wham whams.

Just a picture of the slain victim.

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8captainpeewee(76 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

sending the bulldigers to prison would be like sending a 10 year old kid to disneyland, cut off there ears and make them eat them, put them to death.

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9CountryGirl51(232 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

How sickening what they did to her. They both need to pay the rest of their lives for the crime.

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10mrblue(1175 comments)posted 3 years, 12 months ago

What a horrible death. These two animals should suffer the same type of death. An eye for an eye.

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11Empathetic(11 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

What the hell is wrong with some people that they could do this to ANYONE, let alone someone they used to have a connection with? I just dont understand this mentality at all.

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12WilliamSwinger(341 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

More horror from those that choose homosexual behavior.

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