BRAXTON, Miss. (WLBT) - The dispatcher’s voice was raspy as she paged out first responders to the scene where Ashlei McFarland was already cold to the touch.
“Central dispatch to Cato personnel, be en route 135 Conerly Road, 135 Conerly Road, for a possible deceased at this address…”
McFarland was found with severe head trauma Tuesday morning, launching an almost immediate search for the couple that police believed were her killers.
Dontrell Hunter, 27, and Ashley Basham, 46, were arrested in Lawrence County Tuesday night and charged in McFarland’s death. But even now, the connection between suspects and victim is not clear.
“We’re still talking with individuals trying to make that connection, whether it’s something in their past or more recent, we’re still not solid on that,” said Rankin County Sheriff’s Department Legal Counsel Paul Holley.
Wednesday, in Judge Kent McDaniel’s courtroom, both Hunter and Basham received $250,000 bond, but within the next two hours that bond was taken away.
Judge McDaniel said in court that McFarland was killed by a contact gunshot wound to the head and that Hunter was the alleged shooter.
”Referring to it as a contact gunshot wound or a regular gunshot wound, we’re waiting to hear back on the autopsy,” Holley said.
In court, McDaniel chastised Hunter on his record of misdemeanor drug convictions. Basham is out on bond for three felony charges in Pearl River County, according to Chief Investigator Marc Ogden.
“She was arrested for trafficking a controlled substance with an enhancement for a firearm, being in possession of a firearm, and possession of a stolen firearm,” Ogden said.
Tyler Cantrell had warned McFarland about hanging out with Hunter the night before she was killed. He said Tuesday night that there’s only one outcome McFarland’s friends will accept.
“Justice, gotta have justice,” he said. “Got to.”