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Defendant in 1997 Fort Myers murder case found not guilty by a jury

FORT MYERS, Fla. — In the murder trial of Keith Jones, which lasted for 25 years, a jury has ruled Michelle Ashley not guilty of the crime.

In 1997, Jones, a Marine Corps veteran and graduate of a police school, traveled all the way from Daytona Beach to spend some time in Southwest Florida. On June 19, he was viciously assaulted and killed in a room at the Tides Motel. The incident took place on that day.

The investigation was put on hold for many decades until 2019, when Fort Myers resident Michelle Ashley was arrested on one count of first-degree felony murder with a firearm. She is charged with this crime. The jury selection process for the trial started one month ago.

During the course of the trial, the state’s attorneys claimed that Ashley should be found guilty of murdering Jones even though she was not the one who drew the gun on the tragic night in question.

According to the state’s allegations, Ashley provided information to four individuals about the location of Jones, who then allegedly robbed him, assaulted him, and shot him in the head. Robert Harris, attorney for the defense, said that the four suspects also assaulted Ashley on that same evening.

Chief Derrick Diggs of the Fort Myers Police Department said something in 2019 that indicates there are more people who may be involved in this case.

Lowell Bowen

From the time he was 8 years old Lowell knew he wanted to be on TV. Well, as people say one thing leads to another, that's how Lowell started his career in the news industry. Lowell has been part of The South Florida Daily since the very beginning.

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