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A lesbian couple admitted to luring one of the women’s former lovers into the woods, beating her and strangling her, and finally burying her in a shallow grave as she took her last breaths.
Pennsylvania prosecutors are weighing whether to seek the death penalty for Jade Olmstead and Ashley Barber, the Erie Times-News reported.
Their victim, Olmstead’s 20-year-old ex Brandy Stevens, suffocated on the dirt they shoveled into the grave they’d dug in advance of the horrific crime, autopsy results showed.
On May 17, the two women told police, Olmstead convinced Stevens to come see a fort she was building in the woods outside their home near Cochranton.
Barber, Olmstead’s new girlfriend, was lying in wait at the scene. They savagely beat Stevens, stuffing a cap into her mouth because “they were freaking out from her screams,” state police Trooper Eric Mallory testified.
Barber strangled Stevens with a rope as Olmstead continued to bludgeon her, and head-butted her so hard that she bruised her own forehead.
Olmstead and Barber rolled Stevens into the makeshift grave, they said. When they saw that she was still breathing, they slammed a rock into her face and poured water into her nose and mouth before piling on the dirt that eventually killed her.
Both women face charges of homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide, as well as evidence tampering for burning some of Stevens’ belongings and their own blood-soaked clothes, according to the Times-News.
Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz will determine if he will pursue the death penalty before their Aug. 24 arraignment.