Huffpost Crime
David Lohr Headshot

Brandy Stevens-Rosine Murder: Woman Who Told Victim's Mom She Killed Her '20-Year-Old Mistake' Pleads Guilty

Posted: Updated:
Ashley Barber following her arrest in the slaying of Brandy Stevens-Rosine.
Ashley Barber following her arrest in the slaying of Brandy Stevens-Rosine.

MEADVILLE, Pa. -- Ashley Barber wrote a taunting note to the mother of 20-year-old Brandy Stevens-Rosine, an Ohio college student who was beaten and buried alive in a shallow grave last year.

This and other details were released Thursday, following Barber's first-degree murder plea in the slaying of Stevens-Rosine.

During the lengthy court proceeding, Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz read aloud an excerpt from a letter he said Barber, 21, wrote in notebook to Stevens-Rosine's mother on the day the teen was murdered.

"I f-----g murdered your 20-year-old mistake," Schultz read, quoting the letter. "She deserved it."

The note, Shultz said, is a clear indication of "what type of person" Barber is.

In changing her plea from not guilty, Barber admitted her role in the 2012 slaying of Stevens-Rosine.

"I don’t have much to say -- I have no explanation," Barber said. "You may not believe me, but I do apologize."

Crawford County Common Pleas Judge Mark Stevens, no relation to the murder victim, sentenced Barber to life in prison without parole.

"The punishment dictated by the law fits. We have to protect society," Stevens said in court.

Stevens-Rosine's mother, Carrie Stevens-Rosine, told The Huffington Post on Friday the guilty plea is bittersweet.

"Nothing will bring my daughter back and why this had to happen to my daughter we will never understand," she said.

Barber's plea came less than a month after her accomplice, Nichole "Jade" Olmstead, 20, also pleaded guilty in the slaying. Olmstead also received a sentence of life in prison.

Olmstead, in a notebook she kept about the slaying, wrote that the crime "is perfect," Schultz told HuffPost earlier this month. "She said, 'I don't believe we will ever get caught.' She [also] asks a question at the end: 'Do I feel guilty?' [To which she answered], 'No, not an ounce. I am proud.'"

The two killers were lovers and Brandy Stevens-Rosine had once dated Olmstead, Stevens-Rosine's close friend, Krysti Horvat, previously told HuffPost.

PHOTOS FROM THE CASE: (Article Continues Below)

Photos From Brandy Stevens-Rosine Case
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

According to the prosecutor, Stevens-Rosine, a sociology student at Youngstown State University, was lured by Barber and Olmstead to their residence in Crawford County, Pa., on May 17, 2012.

Two days later, Stevens-Rosine's family reported her missing. On May 23, 2012, authorities found Stevens-Rosine's partially decomposed remains in a shallow grave a few hundred yards from the home where Barber and Olmstead were staying.

State Trooper Eric Mallory testified at a July 2012 preliminary hearing that Olmstead and Barber had lured Stevens-Rosine into the woods behind their home and savagely attacked her.

Mallory said the women admitted to punching and kicking Stevens-Rosine. Barber put a rope around Stevens-Rosine's neck and strangled her, while Olmstead hit Stevens-Rosine in the head with a shovel, the trooper said the women told him.

Olmstead, according to Mallory's testimony, said she hit Stevens-Rosine four or five times in the head, and could see Stevens-Rosine's brain protruding from the gaping wounds. Barber hurt herself head-butting Stevens-Rosine, and then repeatedly pounded the victim's head against a stump, Mallory said

According to Mallory, the women said they rolled the victim into a shallow grave they had dug prior to the assault. When they found Stevens-Rosine still breathing, the trooper said, they smashed her face with a large rock and poured water into her nose and mouth to drown her.

The autopsy report showed Stevens-Rosine suffered blunt force trauma, a skull fracture and 15 lacerations to the scalp. Her death, according to Erie County forensic pathologist Eric Vey, was caused by suffocation from dirt blocking her airway. In court, Crawford County District Attorney Francis Schultz said Stevens-Rosine had been buried alive.

Although the killers have been punished, Stevens-Rosine's mother said the pain in her heart remains.

Olmstead and Barber "will never be able to hurt anyone ever again," Carrie Stevens-Rosine said. "Their parents, however, can still talk to them, visit with them and hug them. I will never be able to do that again. I will never get to see my daughter graduate from college, get married and have a family. I will never get to see her grow up."

A memorial fund has been established in Brandy Stevens-Rosine's name. Anyone interested in donating may visit brandyrosine.com.

Around the Web

Ashley Barber Pleads Guilty in Murder of Brandy Stevens

Second and final accused in buried alive murder pleads guilty; gets setences ...

Guilty Plea and Life Sentence for Murder

Crawford County woman sentenced to life for murder