From outward appearances, this photograph appears mundane. It seems to be just a family member goofing with a beloved new baby while visiting his kin. Unfortunately, the image belies the truth. The baby, Ashlynn Peters, would wind up dead by way of the man’s hands soon after this picture was captured.
Jordan Prince met Ashlynn’s mother, Jessica Howell, on Facebook while she was pregnant with the little girl. The two soon became a couple and celebrated Ashlynn’s birth together. Howell googled her new beau and discovered he had a previous conviction for sexual offenses inflicted upon a 4-year old. Instead of being appalled by this and keeping her baby away from this predator, Howell actually sent him text messages with ideas on how he could molest her daughter. One such message described the idea of him raping her baby as “hot”.
On December 3rd, 2012, Howell drove Ashlynn to Prince’s trailer. A while into their visit Prince proceeded to use an unknown object to sodomize the little girl while her mother slept. The item caused significant internal bleeding, ultimately causing the baby to lose a 1/3 of her body’s blood volume. That alone would have proved fatal, however, Prince then tried to silence the child’s screams by squeezing her throat long enough to put her unconscious. EMTs were called when Ashlynn proved to be non-responsive while she was laying on the couch soon after. The child was resuscitated briefly before dying from her attack.
Prince and Howell were placed under arrest over the course of the next few days. The police not only found the disturbing text messages which spoke of sexually abusing Ashlynn, but also a series of Facebook updates and comments that were upsetting and off putting. This included one from Prince which read: “This is for you baby girl…..daddy misses you….daddy loves you” which was posted 2 days after the murder.
When the trial went down, a jury of his peers took less than four hours to find Prince guilty of first-degree murder, child abuse and forcible sodomy. Circuit Judge Nancy Schneider described the crimes as “cruel and inhuman” while sentencing him to three consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Prince was reportedly stoical as the verdict was handed down. Prince’s lawyer had tried to argue that there was no ties to Prince and Ashlynn to prove he committed the crime, however the police found a baby blanket with blood and DNA from both of them at the crime scene.
Ashlynn’s mother Jessica plead guilty to felony abuse of a child and felony murder. She received a sentence of 25-years in prison.
Wayne Nance never served a day in jail, but ample evidence suggests that he was guilty of a string of murders from the mid-70’s up to 1986, when he himself was killed.
In April 1974, Donna Pounds was found dead of gunshot wounds in her basement. Nance knew the family and was friends of Pounds’ children. Evidence recovered in Nance’s house after his death linked him conclusively as the murderer.
Nance took a job as a bouncer at a bar, using his workplace to find victims. He picked off at least four women who police believe ventured out for fun and frolic. Two of the women were never identified, and a third one was a Jane Doe until DNA identified her as Marcella Bachman in 2006.
In 1985 Nance entered the home of Mike and Teresa Shook. He bound the couple, murdered them and then set the house on fire with their four young children inside. The kids were saved, and items stolen from the home were found in Nance’s possessions after his death.
Nance’s bloodlust was forcibly ended the night of September 3rd, 1986. At that time, Nance was working at “Conlin’s Furniture” as a delivery worker. He decided to target his boss, Kris Wells, for reasons unknown. Nance went to the Wells home after dark and knocked on the door. He requested a flashlight from Kris’ husband Doug. When Doug turned around, Nance cracked him on the back of the head. Nance ordered Kris to tie her husband up with some clothesline. He then took Kris to her bedroom and tied her to the bed frame.
Doug was forced into his basement, where Nance tied him to a support post and delivered a severe beating. Nance produced an 8-inch kitchen knife and jammed it into his chest, puncturing a lung. Nance left Doug to die, and made his way upstairs to presumably rape and murder his manager. Doug, despite being seriously wounded, managed to break free from his bindings. He made his way to his gun case in the basement and loaded his model 99 Savage 250-3000 with one round.
Doug waited a moment, knowing that if he tried to march upstairs that Nance could potentially use his wife as a human shield. Doug instead took the rifle butt and banged it against the wall. Nance fell for the trap and made his way back down to the basement. When Nance got in sight, Doug fired a shot into Nance’s abdominal area. Nance attempted to crawl his way back towards the bedroom, with Doug in pursuit behind him. He pounded Nance with the rifle butt until the butt actually splintered.
Nance managed to get his own gun from the holster on his belt and prepared to fight back. By this point, Kris had freed her legs and one arm, allowing her to kick and swat at Nance as well. Nance fired several shots at Doug, one of which hit him in the leg. Doug continued to swing the rifle butt at Nance, inadvertently knocking the lamp off the bedside table and encasing the room in darkness. Doug heard another shot explode from Nance’s gun. It was at this point in which Doug decided to lunge for the bedside table where the Wells’ kept their own pistol. He flipped on a light and grabbed his gun, only to find Nance twitching on the floor. A bullet was in his head. It is believed the self-inflicted wound was an accident caused by Doug smacking the gun in the dark at just the moment Nance was pulling the trigger, causing his own demise. (Author’s note – Some sites state Doug fought the pistol from Nance’s grasp and shot him with it himself.)
Nance was rushed to a local emergency room, but died a few hours later. Doug overcame his bullet wound to the leg, the deep stab wound, plus several head and chest bruises and contusions. He was later quoted as saying “I really hope this jackass’ last thought was “Boy, did I pick the wrong house.””
Full credit goes to Criminally Listed for bringing the Nance case to my attention recently.
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