A Fremont County woman has agreed to go to prison for another woman’s violent death.
Kasia Marcene Monroe, 32, gave a guilty-plea variation Thursday in Fremont County District Court for an accessory to involuntary manslaughter charge in the Aug. 24, 2022, death of Ashley Dewey, 31.
Monroe, Chasity Washington and others beat and stabbed Dewey in a trailer house in Riverton, then put a tire on her body and set fire to it, burning the trailer house, according to an evidentiary affidavit filed in the case.
Monroe struck an agreement in June agreeing to plead to the charge and receive a sentencing recommendation of 15-20 years in prison. But at the last minute in court Thursday, Monroe’s attorney and the case prosecutor amended the plea agreement to let Monroe give an Alford plea, which acts like a guilty plea except that it is not an admission of guilt; it is an acknowledgment that the state has enough evidence to convict.
Riverton Police Department officers originally responded to a trailer fire Aug. 24.
But after they found Dewey in the the trailer’s bathtub with a burning tire on top of her, pulled her out and tried to save her, they learned she’d been stabbed in the chest and beaten, Tim Hancock, Fremont County Chief deputy prosecutor, recounted in the hearing.
A forensic pathologist concluded that the stabbing and the beating’s blunt-force trauma killed Dewey together.
“Had she just been beaten she would have lived. Had she just been stabbed, she would have lived,” said Hancock. “Monroe was involved in this severe beating.”
The beating started in a room in the trailer, but perpetrators “brought” Dewey to the bathroom as they beat her, Hancock said.
How Do You Now Plead
State District Court Judge Kate McKay spoke softly to Monroe, emphasizing that giving the Alford plea would strip away most of Monroe’s rights, including the right to go to trial.
“How do you now plead?” asked McKay.
Monroe stood, wearing a red jail jumpsuit with her hands shackled in front of her body from a chain around her waist.
“Guilty, pursuant to Alford,” said Monroe.
McKay started to warn Monroe that if she committed any crimes in jail while waiting for her September sentencing hearing, it may jeopardize her plea agreement. But that provision was not actually in the plea agreement, Hancock said, which caught McKay by surprise.
“That might be the only one I’ve ever seen without that condition,” said the judge.
Chasity Washington gave an Alford plea earlier this year in an accessory to second-degree murder charge in the same case, with her plea agreement calling for a 25-43-year prison sentence.
Washington admitted to lighting two tires on fire — one on top of Dewey and one in the kitchen area — while other people were still in the trailer, according to the affidavit.
Monroe reportedly told police she watched Washington stab Dewey with a large kitchen knife and kick Dewey in the face as the latter lay in the bathtub, the affidavit says.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.