Ashley Jones, 14, and her boyfriend, Geramie Hart, 16, murdered Ashley’s grandfather and aunt in their Birmingham, Alabama home almost twenty years ago, and they tried to murder Ashley’s grandmother, Mary Nalls, and her sister, Mary Elizabeth Nalls, named after her grandmother. Their true story airs on TV One‘s For My Man Monday night. Ashley Jones and Geramie Hart were sentenced to life in prison.
Geramie and Ashley: A Tragic Teen Love Story
On Sunday, August 29, 1999, police were dispatched to 4600 Campbell Lane in the North Smithfield Manor community in Birmingham, Alabama. When firefighters and police detectives arrived at the smoke-filled home, they found seventy-six-year-old Deroy Nalls in the kitchen with a knife embedded into his back. He was dead.
In one of the bedrooms, they found Millie Nalls, a thirty-year-old African American woman, lying face up in her bed with multiple gunshot wounds to the body. She was also deceased. A look of horror was frozen on her face. It was determined that Millie Nalls was Deroy Nalls’ daughter.
Mary ‘Liz’ Nalls, age 75, and her granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth Nalls, age 10, survived. It was Mary Elizabeth who ran out of the house in the middle of the night and into the darkness to get help.
Police learned the elderly couple’s other granddaughter, Ashley Tamia Jones, and her older boyfriend, Geramie Hart, had tried to kill them. But Geramie and Ashley were nowhere to be found. Detectives noticed something else—Deroy Nalls’ Cadillac was missing from the driveway.
The evening started out somewhat normal. Ashley Jones hung out at home. She lived with her grandparents to avoid her mother with whom she had a rocky relationship. Deroy Nalls and Mary Nalls knew their granddaughter was upset because they punished her for slipping out of the house all night. Little did they know, Ashley had concocted a plan to murder them in their sleep and was monitoring their every move.
Before the tragedy, Ashley Jones’ was living a life of turmoil. As a child, she was small for her age, had a speech impediment, had no friends, and was often teased and bullied. She also saw domestic violence in the home and was often left to care for her baby sister. On one occasion, her father held her mother and sibling at gunpoint and fired at the car. All this before the age of five.
It gets worse. Court records show that at age 10, Ashley Jones tried to kill herself by jumping out of a window. At age 11, she was hospitalized for seizures due to an overdose. By age 13, she overdosed again and was admitted into Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.
In 1999, she tried to kill her biological father, who she claimed threatened to kill her and little Mary in their sleep. And during AEA week, she allegedly stabbed her pregnant mother after an altercation about a red jacket. The other details found within Ashley Jones’ casefile are too disturbing to list.
Ashley was placed in a juvenile facility from March to June. After her release, she went to live with her grandparents. But the situation didn’t improve. The relationship with Geramie Hart resumed, and Ashley Jones was filled with rage.
It was the winter of 1998 when Ashley Jones met Geramie Hart met at a party. There was an instant attraction, and Ashley remarked to police at the time of her arrest that she thought Geramie was “cute” and not “fake.”
Geramie fell hard for Ashley. At 5-feet-1-inch tall and weighing 105 pounds, Ashley was the prettiest girl in the world to him. She spoke in a soft voice and often wrote him letters in her unique bubbly handwriting style.
Less is known about Geramie Hart’s background. He lived with his aunt around the corner from Ashley Jones. Back then, the area was quiet, and the houses were neat and modest. According to his aunt, Iris Wallace, Geramie wanted to live in a better environment, and he appreciated her firm rules.
One school official noted that Geramie Hart changed schools frequently. In early 1998, he was enrolled at Fultondale High School but left in September to attend Huffman High School. After leaving Huffman, he enrolled in Gardendale High, a predominantly white school at the time.
Geramie Hart was fifteen-years-old and had few friends. A bit of a bully, he bragged to Ashley that he was part of a gang, and he was known to threaten others and brandish weapons on the street and on the school bus in the Gardendale school system.
Ashley Jones listened to Geramie talk about his tough street life. It didn’t repel her. Instead, it fascinated her. Geramie Hart provided something for Ashley that her family didn’t—excitement, comfort, support, and freedom.
They connected through shared stories. Ashley Jones felt like an outcast, and so did Geramie Hart. To impress her, he told Ashley how advanced and sensual he was in the bedroom and even admitted he had a child with another girl. For hours, they talked by phone. They sneaked out late at night to see each other.
In February of 1999, Ashley Jones gave herself to Geramie Hart. He was her first. After that intimate encounter, the teens drew closer to each other.
Weary from years of chaos, Ashley Jones confided in Geramie Hart, telling him about the abuse she endured at the hands of her father and stepfather. She also expressed how miserable she was living under the thumb of her strict religious grandfather.
To Geramie Hart, Ashley needed someone to look after her. He’d be her protector, and he didn’t mind that she sucked her thumb sometimes; it was a coping mechanism, stemming from severe family trauma. Geramie told Ashley he loved her, and that she was “his girl. His only girl.”
He suggested they needed a way out—a way for them to be together—for life. Those were the words Ashley Jones needed to hear, and Geramie Hart knew it. Tired of being lonely, she trusted him with her heart, body, and soul.
Sadly, Ashley Jones failed to realize that with all she had been through in her life, she wasn’t emotionally equipped to be in a serious and intimate relationship with Geramie Hart. It confused her, and it disoriented her. Ashley Jones’ fragile mind led her family to disaster.
Monday, August 30, 1999, Jefferson County Headquarters–Interrogation of Ashley Jones
Detective: “In your own words, tell me what you planned?”
Ashley Jones: “We had planned to kill everybody in the house.”
Detective: “And when did you plan this?”
Ashley Jones: “Two days ago. Everybody in the house was going crazy, and everybody just didn’t get along.”
Detective: Are you remorseful in any way for doing this?”
Ashley Jones: “What that mean?”
Detective: “That means are you sorry for doing this.”
Ashley Jones: “I mean, it wasn’t worth it, no. Probably going to be in jail for a long-long-long time. I didn’t hate them, but I mean—I was just. It felt like  a dream.”
Detective: “You got a scratch mark or something right there on your neck. Do you know where that came from?”
Ashley Jones: “It’s probably a hickey.”
Detective: “Okay, yeah, a passion mark.”
Ashley Jones: “What’s going to happen to Geramie? I just want to see him and be with him for like—forever.
Detective: “You want to be with Geramie forever?”
Ashley Jones: “What’s going to happen to me?”
Detective: “I don’t know.”
Ashley Jones: “Can you tell [Geramie], I love him?”
[Main image via Alabama Department of Corrections]