Gruesome details of abuse and tampering outlined


By Meladi Brewer

GREENVILLE — Jurors heard grueling details of the abuse of the victim’s corpse on the third day of trial. Judge Travis L. Fliehman presided.

Multiple neighbors of Ashlee R. Fletcher came forward to state the nature of the facts for which they were involved. All of them testified to knowing Fletcher and Baker had been in a relationship, and two neighbors, who reside together, caught video surveillance of them during the time of the investigation.

Text messages between Fletcher and her across the road neighbor were shown in court proving she had borrowed the carpet cleaner and left with it and other supplies. The female neighbor testified that she had purchased the shampooer six months prior and had used it thrice for various animal urine stains and mud. She and her live-in boyfriend testified that they did not utilize the cleaner to clean up any blood residue.

Despite the neighbors testifying they had not used the cleaner for blood clean up, BCI Logan Schepeler advised the swab from the opening had come back positive for blood without a conclusive test for a DNA match. When asked if Fletcher acted out or in a hurry while picking up the cleaner, the female neighbor said “No, she’s always in a hurry.”

Fletcher’s duplex neighbor testified the defendant had come to her after a search warrant had been issued on the Fletcher house a day prior. Fletcher had not been at the residence at the time of the search warrant, but video showed her coming the morning after and approaching her neighbor.

It was testified by the female duplex neighbor that Fletcher approached her with her hood up like she was “kind of trying to hide” before asking her if she would be willing to go into the house for her to get her some things.

“I told her I was not comfortable, and she just walked away. After that I never saw her, but she asked me and I told her no,” the female duplex neighbor said.

The duplex neighbor said she had never been in Fletcher’s apartment, nor was she close to Fletcher. Captain Shawn Trissel with the Darke County Sheriff’s Office relayed facts about the corpse that were later confirmed by Joseph “Joe” VanVickle with the DC Coroner’s Office.

While relaying how the discovery of the victim came to be, he advised that once the body was exposed, it was evident to see that one of the legs was not in a natural position.

“You can see here the foot that goes up and there is the arm,” Capt. Trissel showed the jury. “Then this is what we believed to be the head. Here you can see the teeth sticking out.”

Capt. Trissel said that once Coroner VanVickle got to the area around the head, it became hard to dig, and they later discovered it was because there had been concrete that was poured onto the body. Capt. Trissel was asked why he thought someone might pour concrete onto the victim.

“They tried to disguise his face or tamper with the investigation – to tamper with evidence,” Capt. Trissel said.

Not only was the concrete poured onto the body with the foot in an unnatural position, VanVickle testified that the position of the foot happened postmortem. He believed the mutilation of the foot was done in order to ensure the corpse would fit into the shallow grave.

Evidence was shown of the blood stains that were attempted to be covered up by sweeping, scrubbing, pouring of concrete, and there were numerous evidentiary pieces of the Escalade being cleaned. Members of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation all testified that the car carpet in both the front and back had tested positive for blood despite being cleaned up with little to no visible indications.

Video surveillance at the work site was displayed in the courtroom as well. It showed Dean Baker on various times of the day both alone and with what Capt. Trissel advised was another female working in the barns where the victim’s body had been. Video also showed that on the night the victim was moved to the grave, the camera had been covered with the cloth.

Defense Attorney David Rohrer questioned Capt. Trissel about the two individuals on the security camera, as it had been late, dark, and raining in some of the footage. Rohrer pointed out that a lot of the evidence showed Baker working alone: sweeping the encroachment, going in and out of barns, moving pallets, etc., but there is not one video that shows the identity of the second person.

Capt. Trissel told Rohrer he knew the second person was a female, as he could see the individual’s long hair. Without hesitating, Rohrer advised Capt. Trissel that it could be a male with long hair to which he agreed it could be a male with a smaller statute.

“You can’t identify who that is in the video can you?” Rohrer asked.

He pointed out the only evidence they have of Fletcher was a cigarette and shoe found in the barn; however, there is a little caution with the shoe print, as sneakers are mass produced. Due to being mass produced, there are various versions of the shoe with the same tread mark as that on the footprint investigators found on a tire inside of the building.

Ted Manasion with BCI testified that there are little markers that the treads on shoes will have due to wear and tear that will make all the tread unique after a while; however, he agreed that despite indicating that the treads were a supported match, there will be a note of some source without ever fully indicating a perfect match.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].

No posts to display