In 2014, 18-month-old William Bradsnyder died in a fire on Steamboat Island Road. The child’s mother, Ashley Conroy who was charged with manslaughter, is now facing her actions in a court of law.
Within hours of the baby dying, Ashley made a comment to investigators that the child’s aunt was going to be mad. When asked why, Ashley stated she had killed the aunt’s nephew, meaning her own son. According to investigator’s reports, Ashley went to a nearby mobile home, leaving the small child alone in a one-room apartment when the fire broke out.
With a jury in place, opening statements began this part Monday. Called to the stand first were two employees of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Sgt. David Claridge and Detective Jamie Gallagher.
At the time of the boy’s death, Sgt. Claridge was a detective. After taking the stand, he explained how he was called to the scene around 5:00 am on November 3, 2014. The lead investigator of the case, Jamie Gallagher, arrived shortly after Claridge.
During testimony, both parties described a double-wide mobile home as being the main structure on the property along with an outbuilding that was being used as two apartments. Conroy, her boyfriend, and baby William lived in the smaller unit while her aunt and her boyfriend lived in the larger apartment.
Immediately, Claridge noted the property was in complete disarray. In fact, the volume of clutter on the outside made walking around the charred building difficult.
After hearing people scream, Conroy made her way outside to find the apartment engulfed in flames. Once the fire was distinguished, firefighters discovered the body of a small child inside under a desk. Roughly two feet from the child was an electric grill, which Chief Steve North with the McLane-Black Lake Fire Department confirmed as being the source of the fire.
Even though Conroy left the baby alone, her defense team has a number of strong arguments that might keep her out of jail. In addition to being treated for third-degree burns on her face while trying to save her son, firefighters confirmed the grill was unplugged when found. It was also discovered that the grill was never collected for evidence and that wiring in the outbuilding had not been examined.
Conroy insists she was only gone a short amount of time and that the heater she had used was unplugged. However, her comment about killing her aunt’s nephew will likely have a huge impact on jurors. The trial will resume on Wednesday, March 2.