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Press Release

Convicted Sex Offender Indicted for Murder and for Shooting a Child on the Isabella Reservation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

Bay City, MI – A convicted sex offender was indicted today by the grand jury for murdering a woman and shooting her child on the Isabella Reservation in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today.

The indictment charges Johnathan Ashford, age 37, of Mt. Pleasant, with murder for shooting and killing an Indian victim on the Isabella Reservation. Ashford is not a Native American. The indictment also charges Ashford with assault with the intent to commit murder for shooting the victim’s child. In addition, Ashford is charged with failing to register as a sex offender, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and after being convicted of a felony, first degree child abuse, and two counts of domestic assault by a habitual offender. If convicted, Ashford faces up to life in prison.

“Our office stands ready to fully investigate and prosecute domestic violence,” said U.S. Attorney Ison.  “Victims of domestic and gender-based violence deserve justice and our protection.”

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  

The case was investigated by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police, the Mount Pleasant Police Department, Isabella County Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police, Saginaw City Police, Buena Vista Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roy Kranz.

Updated November 9, 2022

Indian Country Law and Justice