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Grandmother Faces Murder Charge

Sun., Nov. 26, 1995, midnight

Five-year-old Ashley Ann McQuillan, her sister and two brothers opened Christmas presents Tuesday.

Two days later, authorities say their grandmother drugged and suffocated Ashley and tried to kill her little sister, Alexandria.

Susan Kathleen “Kate” Stovern on Friday was charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Dec. 7.

Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg said Saturday after an autopsy the signs were consistent with suffocation. He planned to send tissue samples to a lab for testing whether poison or drugs were present in the girl’s body.

Neighbors said Stovern just snapped.

The 42-year-old had fought for custody of her grandchildren: Ashley; Alexandria Alyssa McQuillan, 3; Christopher Michael Cordingley, 4; and 10-month-old Matthew McQuillan. She wanted to keep them away from their father.

“She had made some statements that she would rather kill herself and kill them all before letting the son-in-law take them,” said Sherri Achord, Stovern’s downstairs neighbor. xxxx

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