Meadville Tribune

August 29, 2013

Judge to decide whether to admit statements from Cochcranton homicide suspects

By Keith Gushard
Meadville Tribune

MEADVILLE — A Crawford County Court of Common Pleas judge will decide if statements to police by homicide suspects Ashley Barber and Jade Olmstead will be admissible at the women’s upcoming trial.

Barber and Olmstead are accused by Pennsylvania State Police of homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the May 2012 death of Brandy Stevens in Wayne Township.

Attorneys for the two women and the commonwealth were in county court today for a pretrial hearing on whether the detention of the two women was valid and their subsequent statements allegedly admitting the crime to police should be admissible at trial.

Barber and Olmstead are accused by Pennsylvania State Police of luring Brandy Stevens, 19, of Beaver Township, Mahoning County, Ohio, to their home in Wayne Township on May 17, 2012, brutally beating her and burying her in the woods while Stevens was still alive. Police allege the crime stemmed from a love triangle between the three women.

The women allegedly admitted to police to beating Stevens with a shovel, cracking open the woman’s skull, choking her with a rope and placing her in a shallow grave 22 inches deep while she was still alive, and burying her.

See Friday’s Tribune for additional details.