Woman who assisted boyfriend after killing mulls plea deal

Woman who assisted boyfriend after killing mulls plea deal

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Ashley Bell in court

Ashley Bell is escorted into Queensbury Town Court for arraignment on charges of hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence for the stabbing death of Christopher Goss.

QUEENSBURY — Next month, Ali Barton would have celebrated her nine-year anniversary with her boyfriend, Christopher Goss.

Instead, she will spend a day in the coming weeks at a court date for the woman charged with helping Goss’ killer, Jesse J. Breault, after he stabbed her boyfriend to death.

Ashley N. Bell, the Glens Falls woman who is accused of helping Breault remove evidence from the homicide scene, has been offered a plea deal that would require her to plead guilty to one felony — either hindering prosecution or tampering with physical evidence — and serve a jail term.

She would receive either a 6-month sentence in Warren County Jail to be followed by 5 years on probation, or a 1- to 3-year state prison term.

No court dates had been set as of Thursday, but Bell’s case was transferred this week from Queensbury Town Court to Warren County Court. That means Bell waived having a grand jury review the allegations against her.

Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone said he could not discuss the case as of Thursday.

Breault, 26, was sentenced to 18 years in state prison last month, after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter. He admitted stabbing Goss, 36, in the upper back last May 24.

Goss staggered to a nearby home and died in its front yard. After the stabbing, Breault realized he dropped his cellphone in the parking lot, and he and Bell returned to get it.

Barton said she was notified this week that her testimony would not be needed against Bell in light of a plea agreement.

Barton said, while the case was pending, she held back on telling her story about what happened in the days before Goss was killed, but she wants the public to know how big a role Bell played.

Police have said a dispute between Bell and Barton led to Goss and Breault meeting to fight.

Barton said Goss was angry that Breault had made derogatory comments about her. They agreed via text message that no weapons would be involved, but Breault instead bought a large hunting knife.

“Ashley knew Jesse brought a knife,” Barton said.

They agreed to meet at the parking lot of Rick’s Bike Shop around 1 a.m. Barton said she did not know about the squabble or plans to fight until getting a text from Goss just before he left to meet Breault.

She said she holds Bell largely responsible for Goss’ death, since Bell could have taken action to get Goss help after he was stabbed. Instead, she called Barton via FaceTime from the parking lot after the fight.

“Ashley watched the whole thing, FaceTimed me, never ever told me he was stabbed, just laughed. She knew my car was in the shop. If she would have told me he was stabbed, he would still be alive,” Barton said. “She is heartless, careless and thinks she is getting a second chance while my life was destroyed, as was Jesse’s and of course Chris’.

“She could have called 911, she could have done something,” Barton said.

Barton said she has struggled to resume her life in the months since Goss was killed and was upset to learn that Bell, while free on bail, has resumed work and her gym workouts and has a new boyfriend.

“I just want justice and want her to be shown the same kindness she’s shown Chris and I,” Barton said.

Bell was on probation for an unspecified misdemeanor conviction at the time of the killing.

Bell’s lawyer, Veronica O’Dell, did not return a phone call for comment Thursday.

Don Lehman covers police and court matters and Warren County government. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or dlehman@poststar.com

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