A shallow grave was discovered at a home in Crawford County, Pennsylvania in May. The grave held the body of 20-year-old Brandy Stevens, from Beaver Township, who had been murdered. This past Wednesday, two suspects in the case made an appearance in court for their preliminary hearing. The court hearing took place in Meadville. A friend of Stevens, Krysti Horvat, said, “We knew that it was bad, the murder, but we didn’t know the severity of it. She suffered too much. It went on for too long.”
The suspects are 18-year-old Jade Olmstead and 20-year-old Ashley Barber. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, the two women confessed to the murder of Stevens. Details released last week during the hearing reveal that Stevens was viciously beaten before she was buried alive. Stevens died from suffocation caused by dirt in her airways, according to the autopsy report.
“I can’t imagine why, you know, there is really nothing,” Horvat said.
Prior to her murder, Stevens was in a romantic relationship with Olmstead. Police at the hearing said that Stevens was lured to the home where her body was found by both Olmstead and Barber.
“Brandy was the kind of girl who, she trusted Jade, that was her friend. She would do anything for her friends, so Jade says ‘you wanna come over?’ and Brandy says ‘yeah, I’ll be there,’” Horvat said.
The two suspects have an arraignment hearing set for August 24 and are currently being detained at the Crawford County Jail. They will be arraigned on the charges of evidence tampering, homicide and conspiracy to commit homicide. Prosecutors have yet to determine if they will be seeking the death penalty in the case.
“Maybe the death penalty is too good for them because it’s too fast. Maybe they should rot in prison for the rest of their lives where they will be tormented, hopefully, and they will have to live with the guilt,” Linda Ser, a friend of Stevens, said.
Prior to being buried alive, Stevens was viciously beaten by the two women. She was punched, kicked, choked with a rope, thrown to the ground and had her head repeatedly slammed onto a tree stump. She was also hit across the head with a shovel. When Stevens’ body became lifeless, the two women rolled her into a grave they had already dug. After Stevens was in the grave the two women realized she was still breathing. Stevens’ face was then bashed with a rock and water was poured into her mouth and nose in an attempt to drown her.