The brutal murder of an expectant Stamping Ground teenager will be featured Thursday in an episode of Investigation Discovery’s “The Night That Didn’t End.”
Ashley Lyons, 18, was more than five months pregnant when she was found shot to death in her car in a Scott County park in 2004. Thursday’s special on her death will be shown just after the 15th anniversary.
Her ex-boyfriend, Roger McBeath Jr., is serving a 42-year sentence for complicity to murder Lyons, who was shot three times in the neck and head. He was also sentenced to five years for complicity to evidence tampering.
McBeath and Lyons dated off and on for several years but broke up in 2003 after living together in an apartment. The relationship ended when she learned McBeath was cheating on her, Ashley’s mother told the Herald-Leader.
Family members said Lyons was going to meet McBeath in the park on Jan. 7, 2004, to show him ultrasound pictures of her unborn baby. Lyons’ family said McBeath was the baby’s father, but they said he disputed that.
Lyons was found in her car, unconscious and covered with blood, at 10:30 p.m.
In April 2002, police arrested McBeath, who was accused of stalking Lyons and threatening to hurt her, according to Scott District Court records. He was barred from contacting Lyons, but six weeks later, she appeared at a pretrial conference and requested the charges and the “no-contact” order be dismissed.
McBeath was convicted of her murder in October 2004, but the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned the conviction because an informant questioned McBeath in jail about the shooting. The court also objected to the defense not being allowed to subsequently question the informant.
Avoiding a retrial, McBeath pleaded guilty to new charges and was sentenced in 2009. Chris Lyons, Ashley’s brother, did not think 42 years was enough of a sentence.
“I don’t think life in prison will ever be enough,” he said. He said McBeath was “someone who has no heart, no soul and no remorse.”
McBeath, who is in the Green River Correctional Complex, is now 37 years old. He is eligible for parole in 2024.
In 2005, McBeath’s girlfriend Dena Williams pleaded guilty to helping carry out the plot to kill Lyons. She attempted to rescind the plea, but Scott County Circuit Judge Rob Johnson denied the request.
Williams was sentenced to 20 years in prison for complicity to murder and five years for evidence tampering. Now 33 years old, she is being held in the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women and is up for parole in 2021.
In 2006, her twin brother Thomas Williams pleaded guilty to supplying the 9mm handgun used to kill Lyons. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Thomas Williams testified that he was paid $1,000 to assault Lyons and cause a miscarriage. He didn’t follow through, but he gave the gun to McBeath, according to court records.
Nevel Williams, Thomas and Dena’s father, also pleaded guilty to asking or suggesting that a witness in the case change his testimony during the trial.
In 2009, Lyons’ mother Carol Lyons said she was keeping Ashley’s room mostly intact. She had placed a box with a glass window on Ashley’s wall. It included baby booties and other items her daughter had bought for her unborn son, whom she had named Landon Abner Lyons.
After Ashley’s death, Carol and her husband Buford Lyons helped pass a fetal-homicide law at both the state and federal levels. Under the bill, violence against a pregnant woman is considered two crimes: one against the woman, the other against her unborn child.
Thursday’s show, “The Night That Didn’t End: A Murder in the Cold” will air on Investigation Discovery at 10 p.m. Thursday.