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Ex-legislator in Mississippi killed on same property where sister-in-law's body found

The county coroner says Ashley Henley died from a gunshot wound in a homicide. The investigation into a fire at the trailer where her sister-in-law's body was found continues.

A former legislator in Mississippi was found fatally shot this week on the same property where her sister-in-law's body was found after a fire that remains under investigation, an official confirmed Tuesday.

The woman, Ashley Henley, 40, who was a Republican state representative from 2016 to 2020, was killed in a homicide over the weekend, Yalobusha County Coroner Ronnie Stark said Tuesday.

"She died from a gunshot wound. It's being investigated as a homicide," Stark said.

Authorities discovered the body on the property in Northern Mississippi on Sunday night outside the burned trailer in which Kristina Michelle Jones, her sister-in-law, was found dead Dec. 26, he said.

Officials continue to investigate how Jones, 33, was killed. Stark said that an autopsy had been performed but that his office is awaiting results of an investigation by the fire marshal.

The Yalobusha County Sheriff's Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday. Henley's relatives also could not be reached for comment.

NBC affiliate WMC of Memphis reported that Henley was cutting grass outside the trailer when she was killed. Her husband, Brandon Henley, said she was shot in the head, WMC reported.

"She was a great person. She had a great heart. She was a voice for people who didn't have a voice," Brandon Henley told the station.

The Washington Post reported that Jones' body was found after a blaze in December in a trailer that was owned by her father. The Henleys had been critical and outspoken about the investigation into Jones' death, the newspaper reported.

Brandon Henley wrote April 6 on Facebook that investigators had ruled the fire as arson and had found that there was no smoke in Jones' lungs, an indication that she had died before the fire, The Post reported.

Ashley Henley had a tense confrontation with sheriff's deputies around the same time as she took flowers to a memorial on the property. Henley said officers stopped her and attempted to intimidate her, The Post said.

Henley was defeated in her 2019 re-election bid by just 14 votes, WMC reported.