The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Stafford teen gets 48 years for killing mother
BY KEITH EPPS
A Stafford County teen was ordered Monday to serve 48 years in prison for the “savage and cold-blooded” slaying of her mother.
Ashleigh Nicole Dye was a few months shy of 18 when she shot and killed 62-year-old Brenda Dye on July 5 at the family home on Perry Road.
Brenda Dye was shot in the face and the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun and stabbed multiple times. She had been dead about four hours when her husband and son came home that evening and found her.
The investigation revealed that Ashleigh Dye and her boyfriend at the time, Eddie Chewning, planned the murder, and Dye carried it out.
Dye, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony, was sentenced in Stafford Circuit Court to a total of 68 years in prison with 20 years suspended.
Judge Sarah Deneke’s sentence exceeded the recommended state sentencing guidelines, which called for a maximum penalty of 35 years and three months in prison.
“Your mother’s only crime was that she didn’t like your boyfriend,” Deneke said prior to pronouncing judgement. “This is the very definition of pure unmitigated and unprovoked malice.”
Dye sobbed, and her knees buckled as she stood up after Deneke’s announcement. She could be heard wailing as bailiffs led her back to a holding cell.
Chewning was recently convicted of being an accessory to both first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony. His sentencing is set for July 6.
Ashleigh Dye faced up to life in prison. Chewning does as well.
Dye’s attorney, Terence Patton, put on evidence at Monday’s hearing that seemed to blame Chewning as the primary cause of Dye’s actions.
Witnesses, including teachers at Colonial Forge High School, testified that Dye seemed to change around March of 2011, which was about the time she started dating Chewning.
Ronald Dye, Ashleigh Dye’s father and Brenda Dye’s husband of 44 years, testified that neither he nor his wife approved of the relationship with Chewning.
“She [Ashleigh Dye] knows she made a mistake,” Ronald Dye said. “She got swayed by Mr. Chewning and went the wrong way.”
Ashleigh Dye said she agreed to kill her mother only after Chewning threatened to break up with her if she didn’t.
She said they’d talked about it for months, but the talks got serious July 4 after an argument with Brenda Dye about going to see fireworks.
On the way home from the fireworks, Ashleigh Dye said she and Chewning stopped in a church parking and made plans.
She said Chewning suggested that she cut her mother into pieces and dispose of the body in trash bags, but she said she couldn’t do that.
The next day, Chewning and Dye exchanged text messages before and after the slaying.
Those messages, which were recovered by police, were key evidence against both of them.
In the messages, Dye and Chewning repeatedly expressed their love for each other and Dye several times wrote about being nervous about the planned slaying.
Chewning appeared to encourage Dye to carry out the slaying at several points, one time writing, “stop talking about the [expletive] and just do it.”
Dye shot her mother as she came through a doorway, then tossed items around to make it look like a robbery. She then went to McDonald’s and ate half a fish sandwich before going to her job at Best Buy.
Following the slaying, the teens exchanged messages encouraging each other to not act suspicious once the body was discovered.
Police also found a note she’d written titled “Plan KBM,” which authorities said stood for Plan Kill Bitch Mom.
Patton asked Deneke for a sentence toward the lower end of the guidelines, which was 21 years and two months.
Prosecutors Ed Lustig and Michael Hardiman argued strenuously against that.
“There’s just no getting around the horrific, savage and brutal manner in which Brenda Dye died,” Lustig said. “This is a crime without justification.”
Lustig also scoffed at Ashleigh Dye’s attempt to blame Chewning’s breakup threat for her actions.
“You killed your father’s wife of 44 years so that you could keep your boyfriend of four months?” Lustig asked.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404