Former State Rep. Ashley Henley

A man has been indicted for the murder of former DeSoto County lawmaker Ashley Henley a year after she was shot and killed. 

Billy Lamar Brooks was indicted by a grand jury on June 30, according to court records. The indictment accuses him of killing Henley on or about June 14, 2021, which authorities said is the day after her body was found. 

He appeared in court July 7 and had his bond set at $250,000, according to court records. 

Henley, a Republican who represented House District 40, was shot and killed in Yalobusha County while mowing grass outside of the burned-out mobile home where her sister-in-law, Kristina Michelle Jones, was found dead in December 2020. 

Authorities said in 2021 the gunshot that killed Henley was “non-accidental.”

The Yalobusha Sheriff’s Department, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, District 17 District Attorney’s office and other agencies investigated the case as a homicide. 

Brooks, who lived across the road from Jones, was arrested and charged with arson in June 2021 for burning the trailer where Jones’ body was found. At the time, he was not charged with the death of Jones. 

He was indicted in February on a charge of maliciously setting fire to the home of Jones and Terry Henley, according to court records. 

Prior to her death, Henley had expressed frustration on social media about the investigation of her sister-in-law’s death. 

Henely represented District 40 from 2016 to 2020. She ran for a second term in November 2019 but lost by 14 votes. Henley challenged the election results and requested a new election, but that request was denied. 

Before becoming a legislator, she was a teacher. Henley is survived by her husband and a son.


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Mina, a California native, covers the criminal justice system. Before joining Mississippi Today, she was a reporter for the Clarion Ledger and newspapers in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and USA Today.