Standing just a few feet from her pregnant daughter's killer, Rose Ashley tearfully spoke of her agony in dealing with the deaths that occurred nearly four years ago.
“I have a hole in my heart,” Ashley said Wednesday. “He killed my daughter. He beat her to death. She was five months pregnant.”
Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong presided over a hearing in which she formally accepted findings by prosecution and defense psychiatrists and ruled that Eric Ray Knox was not guilty of two first-degree murder counts by reason of insanity.
Knox, held in the Oklahoma County jail since the killings, will be taken to the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita for treatment.
Knox was charged with the Dec. 21, 2009, slayings of his 25-year-old girlfriend of two years, Stacey Beesley, and their unborn daughter, Zoe.
“What he did to my baby will haunt me forever,” Ashley said. “She was beaten to death along with her unborn daughter by someone she loved and trusted.”
Knox, who will be 32 next week, stared downward and showed little emotion as several family members talked about Beesley and showed pictures of the former cheerleader and Minco High School graduate.
“This is not justice for my daughter, Stacey, or my granddaughter, Zoe,” Ashley said.
Looking at Knox, she said: “I do not believe you are insane. I believe you got mad or something.”
Ashley and her husband, Gerald, said after the hearing they also were pained about the wording in state law that allowed Knox to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. They said Oklahoma legislators should change the law so defendants such as Knox would have to plead guilty but insane.
“Sadly, Oklahoma law has failed us,” Gerald Ashley said.
Rose Ashley said, “If he's mentally ill, just send him to the hospital and get him well and then let him spend the rest of his life in jail.”
The Minco couple did not fault prosecutors.
“Their hands were tied with the law,” Rose Ashley said.
Beesley's beaten and bloody body was found by police inside the Midwest City apartment she had shared for about six months with Knox. A newspaper carrier alerted police to the scene after seeing a man in the area covered with blood.
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