As you can imagine some days are better than others. Sometimes it's just moment by moment when you have lost a child. The last few days I've had some tremendous ups. Some really great things going on with the Ashleigh's Patience Project. And I've enjoyed the last two days that I spent with my daughter and my granddaughter. But as always my mind is never far away from Ashleigh and from Patience. Today, in doing the constant work of gathering information for the documentary I have received pictures of Ashleigh when she was in the hospital. Even though you've been through it, every minute, next to her, holding her hand while she even passed away and that mental image just never leaves your head when you're the mother of the child that has been murdered.........you just never get used to seeing the utter ruin of the most beautiful thing that was ever created by you. And I see in the news every night, every day on Facebook, a murder victim of someone else's hate and I wonder how can people be so cruel? No not cruel, EVIL!!!!! For people to be so evil, that their moment of a total explosion of hate, that they take it out on someone that they claimed at one point to love. They just kill regardless of how many other people out there who really love this person and depend upon them and they just take that life without thought...... so carelessly. I cannot explain to you how devastating every moment of every day is, even through happy times do come, there are moments where you feel guilty for being happy because there's always an underlying sense of this part of you that is missing. This person who is missing from every family function. You can no longer pick up the phone and just call at a moments notice. The person who's been, in every way, was the best part of you. I know lots of people do not understand why I put myself through all this...... in their opinions I should just let it go but it never goes away. So in my mind and my heart I must stand up against evil. Evil may have taken my daughter but, it didn't triumph over her legacy or her memory for us as a family. I have no doubt one day, my family will be whole and together again and in a place where evil cannot touch us. But until then, During my time here I'm choosing...... I'm choosing to speak out. I'm choosing to say no more! I'm choosing to make a difference so that one more mother and one more daughter, one more granddaughter hopefully will never have to suffer. For every one of us who had to suffer that day in the hospital, search for a place just to touch Ashleigh that wasn't covered in blood, to say our goodbyes, I will take a stand. I will never see that happened to an another family if I can in my lifetime. this is what Ashleigh would have me do as the mother she knows and loves. This is how I honor her everyday but especially this Day of Remembrance.
On next Tuesday, September 23rd at 9:00am, I have been invited to speak before a Judical Committee over the placement of Joshua Scott in a Medium Security Prison. For two days now I've been working on a letter that is for the committee to review before next weeks meeting. I'm looking forward to seeing what can be done to get my daughter & granddaughters murderer where he belongs. All of this brings up so many emotions that you just can't probably imagine. I literally feel like I've been hit and all the breathe taken from me today. I miss Ashleigh so much that it's unbelievable at times. Especially, when you have to do things that make you have to sit and think and write out what happened to her all over again and what has happened to my family since then. Hopefully, it'll be worth it in the end. I really hope that we can get things accomplished so that Josh is where he belongs & my family doesn't have to live in fear. As Ashleigh's mom it's the right thing to do. The only thing that I can do to help honor her memory is to be sure she gets the appropriate type of justice within the system. That includes Joshua Scott being in a maximum-security facility and not just a medium security prison. So please, over the course of the next week sign the petition if you haven't. Share it if you have. Especially, with any of your friends that live in Oklahoma. It's really important and it has made a difference. Thank you!
Letter Sent Today for Committee Review
My name is Tara Woodlee. My daughter Ashleigh Lindsey and her unborn baby Patience Lynn along with a man named Chad Page were murdered by Joshua Scott and Joshua Mahaffey on July 13, 2012. After shooting my daughter, Joshua Mahaffey turned the gun and killed himself. Joshua Scott was brought into custody and charged with three counts of first-degree murder. He was also charged with larceny, burglary, and Harboring a Fugitive. Joshua Scott was up for the death penalty during the trial. His lawyer came to the families asked for us to consider a plea bargain. We allowed the plea bargain and Joshua Scott was sentenced to three counts of life without parole to run consecutively in the Oklahoma penitentiary. The reason the families agreed to the plea wasn't fear of losing but a belief that this sentencing would be just as good as the death penalty. Something that the DA in this case assured us was so and that this man would go to a Maximum Security Prison.
Chad Page's murder: Case #
Ashleigh Lindsey & unborn child's murder: Case #
Recently, we were notified that Joshua Scott was being transferred from maximum-security prison in McAlester Oklahoma to a lesser facility in Stringtown Oklahoma which is only medium security. Of coarse as families of the victims we were thrown. We began making phone calls inquiring as to why? We found out that this was done based off a point system done within the Oklahoma Department of corrections. In the Oklahoma Corrections Institute they do an investigation of the crimes committed. This is done thru a packet sent by the local jail. They send this packet with him during the transfer of the inmate to a prison facility. In this investigation they assign murderers a point system based on the crimes he's committed and previous crimes. Joshua Scott even though he is convicted of murdering three innocent people in the most heinous ways was given Points that would only allow him to be in a medium correctional facility.
The PDF sent to us by the Board of Corrections on Male Initial Custody Assessment Procedures...
PDF Worksheet for evaluation.
It is devastating to our family to know that a man that should've been on death row but at the kindness of our hearts we allowed to have life in prison, thinking and told that this would be just as equal a punishment....that the system has now rewarded us with him not going to a maximum facility where he should've been on death row, but to a medium facility where we are afraid that he could at any time get out and make good on his threats to witnesses that he would kill them and to kill and rape myself and my surviving daughter, Ashleigh's sister. This is the only child I have left alive.
This man watched my daughter be abused, beaten, raped, (he literally watched the sex acts committed against her, my daughter claimed he enjoyed and got off on it) and tied up, all while she was pregnant at the hands of his best friend and roommate Joshua Mahaffey. Never once did he call the police to help her even when she begged. Mr. Scott participated in 45 days of brutal stalking after she left. He helped Mahaffey with relentlace threatening phone calls to my daughter, her family and friends. They would literally call an text my phone alone 20 times a day. Mr. Scott participated in an mind blowing Facebook stalking campaign that involved him and Mahaffey creating over 20 fake Facebook accounts that both of these men would friend Ashleigh's friends and lie in an effort to find her. (All of this was/is provable thru phone and Facebook records and statements give by my daughter to the police). These two men called my daughters work place and threatened to kill everyone who answered the phone. Threatened the manager that they would kill everyone there and burn the place down around them if they didn't put my daughter on the phone. The police were called out then and more charges filed. Mr. Scott even posted a picture of the gun on Facebook just hours before the murders and it is still there to this day. When they did find her, they then stole a car from man named Chad Page and he shot him four times in cold blood twice in the head,(one of those shots was in the eye) and stole money from his wallet. In the statement given to his girl friend and her mother (who were to be witnesses for the State) he claimed he shot Chad 3 times, dumped his body in a marsh like area on the side of the road, started to drive away but noticed he was still alive. He backed up the car, got out and did the final shot to the eye. In his statement written the the Judge in the case it was to "put him out of his misery."
He did this in order to pick up Ashleigh's ex fiancé, his best friend and hunt Ashleigh down so they could murder her. They went to Ashleigh's job first but she was not at work yet. How many more people would have died had she been there, I wonder? Ashleigh's friends who were witnesses on the scene were in very much danger because he threatened to kill them all if they told he was there. Mr. Scott then stole their phones and money as well. And even when one of the witnesses broke away to call the police next door, he asked for a cigarette from and other witness and smoked it while seeing my daughter was still alive, gasping for air with her brains exposed(this according to his own statement given to his girlfriend and her mother who were to be witnesses for the State). He watched and would not allow anyone to call for help for Ashleigh. Joshua Scott was later caught and convicted. But while waiting in the county jail for the trial he was found to have made four shanks and had told other inmates of a plan to kill corrections officers and get out and kill the victims and their families. Charges by the State for contraband was done by the State over the knives and escape but dropped for the plea bargain. This was back in December 2013. Now to be only a medium security risk and have him only hours away from all his victims.
This is not the kind of man that should be in an medium security facility where he endangers other inmates, guards and we survivors of this tragedy have to live in fear of his escaping and fulling his promises to kill again. So, I did my own investigating and phone calls in order to understand how this could happen and if I was being told correctly. This is a record of that process...
Once Joshua Scott was sentenced the county jail processes him with a packet and then the inmate is sent to Lexington as a type of sorting facility that everyone is processed through Lexington before they are moved on to their assign facility. Joshua Scott was sent from Lexington to Oklahoma State penitentiary. And then of course we know that he was moved from there to the medium security facility in Stringtown Oklahoma. And now he is in Dick Connor north of Tulsa still in a medium security prison
I talked to the woman in charge of doing the packets from Marshall County by the name of Dosha. She said that the packet was done properly and sent on to Lexington. That in that packet he has all the things that indicate from the sheriffs office that would give the prison system the ability to give him an upgraded rating above the points that he had on his processing paper work from the convictions themselves. This included 2 escape attempts within the County jail. Dosha conveyed that the reason she was able to send him on to Lexington so quickly was because of a failed second attempt at at escape. I have not been able to speak with anyone in Lexington. But I have spoke with a lady by the name of Mirah who is in charge of records at the Oklahoma State penitentiary. She is the person who takes all of Joshua Scott's information including the packet and gives him the equated points with his offenses in order to know what facility he would be transferred. Mirah has told me that Joshua Scott's packet was not sent with him to the Oklahoma State penitentiary. Lexington was supposed to do that within 90 days. At this point I would like to question why an evaluation was done without a packet?
Now in talking with Mirah, she says that if the packet is sent on to her and the facility that contains Joshua Scott they will be able to give him a re-evaluation in which if the things that we have discussed as far as Joshua's behavior are in them,she would be able to do an override on his points. The Override would give her the ability to put him into a maximum facility. I have obtained the PDF on how this works. ( this is the PDF to Male Assessment Procedure that I attached above.)
Now, what I want to share with you that I found disturbing thru that week of my questioning and investigating how the process and everything works is the following....... my first call was to the prison and Stringtown, in talking with them they convey to me that Joshua was sent there based off of good behavior points. When I questioned how he could receive such good behavior points, within six months, they referred me to Oklahoma State penitentiary to answer my question. When I called Oklahoma State penitentiary, they informed me that it had nothing to do with good behavior points that it had to do with the point system regarding PDF that I will be sending to you. Of course, in speaking with Mirah we had a detailed discussion on how the override could proceed. So, I called back Stringtown and talk to them there they had no clue how the point system works. And one of the workers there said "oh so that's how that all works."
Later that day I had a conversation with the Miss Jackson of victim services. And discussed with her what Mirah had said about the override. She had indicated to me that that was a lie. That this process could not be overridden and made no exceptions for violent murderers like Joshua Scott. Also we contacted someone with the board of corrections. Between us, friends, Victims of his other crimes,(robbery, larceny etc....)and Chad Pages family, we had been told by the border corrections this is just the way it is that as long as he was in a secure facility everything would be okay. But in contacting the warden and another officials at Stringtown and at Dick Connor, I was informed that their facilities were not capable of housing criminals of the caliber of Joshua Scott. That they did not usually take in first degree, life without parole felons like him. They found it very unusual and had made it clear that they were not confident in being able to securely keep him there. But when questioning more people outside of that facility (mainly the Prison Board) they kept saying he was secure.
Two weeks after being told that Medium was just as good as Maximum Security, that he could not escape, 26-year-old Aaron Kelsey was discovered missing from the medium-security prison, which has a capacity of nearly 1,000 inmates. Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terri Watkins says 26-year-old Aaron Kelsey was arrested without incident Friday afternoon at an acquaintance's house in Denison, Texas. Kelsey was discovered missing Wednesday during a 6 p.m. head count at a medium security facility at the Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite. Watkins said Kelsey "basically walked away."Prison records show Kelsey was serving time for convictions in Bryan County of second-degree burglary, possession of a firearm during probation, and use of a vehicle in the discharge of a weapon. That means this man was gone 48 hours before capture. In my eyes this would be more than enough time if Mr. Scott was to escape for him to make good on his threats to kill us all. Like I said before, I have only one daughter left and she has just recently had a baby. I have to protect them by all means possible. The worst did happen in our lives and we are to aware of how the system can fail you without meaning to with the murder of Ashleigh & baby Patience.
Link to news article on Aaron Kelsey escape:
Now let me ask you, who am I to believe? Administrators who tell me not to worry like victim services and the board? Or actual facility workers who have been consistent at keeping inmates within their prison. Let alone my own ears from the Aaron Kelsey escape?
So next, I turned to the PDF on Assessment Procedures to see how to get Joshua Scott reevaluated with the proper documents. Of coarse the first thing I needed was to get his escape attempt recognized and placed in his packet. Which the Marshall County Jail assures me that has been sent to all the facilities involved. I have no means of checking that but I have been assured it has been done. Then I read the sections again on higher level overrides. I've copied the parts that pertained to Mr. Scott below. ( you can look at the entire PDF above.)
Male Initial Custody Assessment Procedures
3. Discretionary Overrides for Higher Custody Level
The following items do not affect the offender’s assessed custody level, but are factors which may affect the custody level assignment and subsequent transfer to specific facilities. All requests must be documented regarding the reason for the override on the initial custody assessment and the chronological record.
1. Circumstances of the Offense
If the current score undervalues the actual severity of the crime, an override may be necessary. Staff must document the aggravating characteristics of the crime being used for the override decision. The District Attorney’s Narrative or Information Sheet are examples of documentation that may explain aggravating characteristics.
4. Sentence of Life/Life without Parole
Offenders who are convicted of Murder I and receive a sentence of Life/Life Without Parole will normally be placed at maximum security. Aggravating circumstances of the crime, offender’s age and prior criminal history should be considered when making a recommendation for override.
Notice in 1. That it says that The District Attorney’s Narrative or Information Sheet are examples of documentation that may explain aggravating characteristics.
So, I contacted our DA, Craig Ladd and asked if that narrative was placed in his packet. The response I got was this...(copied from his email.)
I will try to get a narrative out today (crazy busy in court today though), can certainly get one out this week. It was my understanding that Narratives were critical when determining whether someone should be paroled early or not. Since he was sentenced to LWOP, it seemed like a non-issue. Now that I realize it could be an important consideration for where he will be housed, I will get on it ASAP.
He assured me he has now sent that narrative to the prison system in Lexington to be added to his packet. He emailed me a copy as well that I have included here.
Notice in 4. That it says that Offenders who are convicted of Murder I and receive a sentence of Life/Life Without Parole will normally be placed at maximum security. So why was he not the norm? Are we just relying on the score sheet and a DA narrative that DA's do not know can be used so they are not doing them? Even so....were is the criteria.....really obtainable criteria for an override. As this PDF know reads to much is left to the discretion of the person administering the evaluation.
Notice in the PDF of Assessment that the number of escapes earns the highest number of points and the more escapes the more points keep being added. But the Severity of the Crime is one set of points. And again....history ways more. How the Prison Board explained it to me is even though there are 3 murders in Mr. Scott's case they all count as one crime in severity. Hardly seems fair because 3 escapes don't count as one in severity. To me this is a fatal flaw in the points system. This means as long as a serial killer or rapist ect.....has no prior history or convictions, no escape attempts....can be 5 or 10 that he gets charged for at one time, this person can meet the criteria to be only in a Medium Security Prison. This would be totally at the discretion of the evaluator. Without them having a criteria mistakes can be made and they are happening.
It seems to me in my investigation of the process that something is going wrong from the prisoners being processed in Lexington and then out into their proper facilities. Either Lexington is incapable of sending the packets and processing people properly, or they are overwhelmed And need more people to help them with this process. This is what Dosha had conveyed to me about what is happening Lexington. She has had to take on making duplicate copies of the packets to have on hand because facilities are consistently contacting her in her county that the criminal's packets were not transferred from Lexington to their facilities. So again, I'm asking for help to please check into how this process works in Lexington. If Joshua Scott can fall through the cracks, how many others have fallen through the cracks as well? How many inmates are being placed in a minimum facility that should be in a medium or a medium that should be in a maximum?
I'm sure everyone would agree that no one with a life without parole sentence for murder, let alone three of them, should ever be outside of the maximum facility within the state of Oklahoma. Whatever it takes to get those laws and the procedures changed that allowed Joshua Scott to fall through this fatal crack I am willing to do and see through to the end. I am disturbed by certain authorities within the prison system and the board just nonchalantly pawning off this whole situation as "this is just the procedure" without taking the time to actually investigate where things went wrong. I have consistently in talking with them felt like they were covering themselves knowing how badly the system is working instead of taking the time and the proper procedures to make sure that things are being done correctly.
Quite frankly victims shouldn't have to do all this. It is not my job to make sure that the man who murdered my daughter is convicted let alone housed properly in a facility so he could no longer hurt others. That is the state's job. I'm sure they see me as some over grieved parent but if they would take the time to actually investigate they would see Mr. Scott's evaluation was not done properly due to not having all the information in his transfers and I feel a gap in the Procedures Assessment that clearly allows for him to be upgraded to a higher security level but doesn't set a criteria for the Discretionary Overrides for Higher Custody Level .
Simple Solutions that I think merit looking at......
First solution, I would propose is that all appropriate paperwork needs to be assigned with the offender from each prison or county jail transfer and the inmate cannot be transferred with out that paperwork with them. This can be done as a simple checklist that must be marked off by the officer who is doing the transfer and then again at the inmates evaluation. What I was told in this case involving Mr. Scott was that appropriate paperwork did not follow through the channels. Also things like Mr. Scott attempted escapes were not put into his evaluation or on his worksheet for appropriate points. The easiest solution to these problems would be to mandate that even if an offender does not have an escape history that must be documented in paperwork and sent with the offender. This way and doing the evaluation the person doing this within the system can see a definite no or yes that there was escape attempts with dates and listed of appropriate actions in order to give a proper evaluation. This should be included along with history and other evaluation questions. If he has no prior history than the paperwork should reflect no there is no prior history. But if there is a history then yes should be marked. This information ....each one of these things can be mandated as mandatory paperwork that each facility must sign off on having before the evaluation can take place.
Secondly, a solution could be that we raise the points under the seriousness of crime category. An easy way to do that is if the offender has multiple murders, multiple rapes or has consecutive life sentences. These are all examples of things where you can add points within those first three lines along with history and escape that would justify how serious the crime is that is committed.
Or another solution to this could be that under this is discretionary custody level a criteria be set. For example, I will use the life or life without parole since that is the issue that I am more aware. Under that criteria you can put the type of crime serious crime rape, murder etc. have the box checked. Then ask key questions that allow for the override like.....
Is this a manslaughter, first-degree or second-degree murder?
If first-degree murder did they see receive a life with parole our life without parole sentencing?Did they receive multiple first-degree life without paroles?
Were these convictions under first-degree life without parole to run consecutive or concurrent? This is just an example that we can add values of points to that criteria that we can do the same thing with rape and other serious crimes and then under that criteria ...say, on a scale like we do for what facility they meet medium, minimum or maximum that this person has 0 to 2 points they can be placed into a medium facility and if this person has 3 to 5 points then they are to be placed in a maximum-security facility. This way it is just not left up to the discretion of the person evaluating. Also, it takes out of the fact or factor that a DA narrative will have to be submitted by DAs offices that aren't even aware that the narrative can be helped out of the equation saving paper work.
Lastly I would like considered this factor that victims have rights in the state of Oklahoma. We are sent a packet by the state of Oklahoma upon our family members death advising us of our victims rights. Our victims rights are seen through all the way through hearings, trials and the sentencing. Our victim statements are given impact and wait at the sentencing and conviction of the offenders who have hurt our family members. Suddenly once the offender is incarcerated victims have no rights or say over what happens during the incarceration. In the case of Mr. Scott procedures and certain paperwork was not followed along with him and when we, as victims families started questioning we were treated like we were substandard, didn't know what was doing & had no rights or no say. No investigation was launched. We are still struggling to have everything put together and done properly for Mr. Scott's evaluation. An easy way to remedy that would be that upon and inmates classification the victim/victims families be notified of his classification and facility. Right now that is done through a voluntary system called VINE. But, I think it would be helpful that the first time it be mandatory that the victims and their families being notified. And then given the ability to file an appeal. Give the victims families 60 days/90 days to appeal, to the prison board and the prison that they do not think that the evaluation is done properly. Give them some kind of form to fill out so that they can say that this man has had escapes and you have missed this this paperwork needs to go back. Give the victims families the ability to say this crime was exceptionally serious please take a look at my victims impact statement given in court to help determine whether a discretionary override can be done by doing such a thing you would be giving victims the ability to help the system.
I would like to thank you for your time and consideration of not only our case but the system. Sometimes very simple things can be applied to create a better working system not only for the victims and the community but the State of Oklahoma and its employees. I would like to work together to create a system that benefits us all. I'm grateful for the opportunity to try.
This is a chronicle of the grieving process at the murder of my daughter, Ashleigh Marie Lindsey and her unborn Baby Patience Lynn. They call the parentless child an orphan & the married person who loses their mate a widow/widower but what do they call a parent who loses a child? There is no word given for the parent who have seen this kind of untimely death.
Website by Ashleigh's Patience Project