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Homicide suspect declares she is innocent of killing her child’s grandmother

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 25, 2019

Ashley Horning, 25, pictured Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 in Spokane County District Court, is charged with killing a 48-year-old woman. (Jonathan Glover / The Spokesman-Review)
Ashley Horning, 25, pictured Friday, Jan. 25, 2019 in Spokane County District Court, is charged with killing a 48-year-old woman. (Jonathan Glover / The Spokesman-Review)

Appearing confused and agitated, homicide suspect Ashley Horning repeatedly referred to herself as Gypsy – rather than her legal first name – and said that she didn’t commit a crime.

“That’s not me,” she told Spokane County District Court Judge Jennifer Fassbender during her first appearance in court. “And I am innocent.”

Horning, 25, is accused of killing 48-year-old Christina Powell, identified in court documents as the mother of a man with whom she shares a child. The crime happened Thursday morning in east Spokane., Police officers spent hours searching for Horning before she turned herself in at the urging of her boyfriend.

At the end of her brief court appearance Friday afternoon, Fassbender kept Horning’s bond at $1 million. Horning’s court-appointed defense attorney told the judge his client should be in a psychiatric ward – not a jail cell – and that she “wants to die.”

Details of the shooting were released Friday in court documents. The 25-year-old is accused of barging into the 2104 E. Cataldo Ave. home of her daughter’s father, Gregory Powell, at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday. She was confronted by his mother, Christina Powell.

Gregory Powell told investigators his mother stood in Horning’s way while he went to his room to retrieve a weapon. Before he could return, however, he said he heard a gunshot. He returned to the living room to see Christina Powell collapsing on the floor as she asked him to call police.

Christina Powell was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gregory Powell told police he saw Horning holding a silver-colored revolver. He said she ran from the home wearing all black clothing.

As police arrived at the home, Gregory Powell could be seen walking in the street with his young daughter held to his chest. He was yelling to officers that he needed to leave the house as he was worried Horning would return.

In a December court filing, Powell argued for full custody of the 3-year-old. He said Horning had been negligent, abusive and mentally unstable. He wrote that Horning had tried to “cast dark magic” on him and had assaulted him and the father of her other child.

Horning, meanwhile, messaged her current boyfriend on Facebook saying she was going to “kill herself and disappear,” according to court documents. One of her Facebook accounts uses the name Gypsy Araqiel.

The man picked her up at a bench overlooking the Spokane River near an intersection of Stone Street and South Riverton Avenue, about nine blocks north of the shooting.

Court documents allege the two went to the man’s home on Ermina Avenue, where Horning showed him a post on social media that said police suspected her of committing murder. The man told police he went to check for his .357 Taurus revolver, but it was missing.

He said Horning mumbled something akin to “she was a bad person anyways,” according to documents.

After several minutes, the man told police he convinced her to turn herself in. He drove her to the Safeway store at 933 E. Mission Ave., where she was arrested without incident.

Later that day, court documents state Horning told detectives she “blacked out” that morning, and could only remember being picked up at the bench near the Spokane River. She also accused Powell of molesting her young daughter, though there is no evidence in court records to support that claim.

Police took her to the location of the bench near the river, where she reportedly told them that if she did commit the murder, that she would have likely thrown the gun in the water.

Officers searched the area but weren’t able to find it.

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