Ashley Marie Toye, is one of twin daughters born to Clifford and Julie Toye October 31, 1988. She, along with her twin, Bethany, and brother, Justin lived with their parents in Newton, New Jersey for the first years of their lives. At an early age Julie began having problems and when Ashley was only four, Julie walked out on the young family, leaving Cliff as a single parent, with three small children. Cliff was working overtime whenever possible, often causing the children to be on their own when they arrived home from school. He loved his children very much, and felt caught between his desire to be there for them, and the need to provide for their physical well being.
Julie would pop in and out of their lives as she struggled to find herself. But the time Ashley and Bethany were fourteen, Julie appeared to have gotten her life under control, and told Cliff she was ready to parent the girls. So, he allowed Ashley and Bethany to move to Maine where they remained with Julie for a year. One day after school the girls came home to find a letter on their bed telling them that Julie couldn’t take it any longer, and that she was leaving once again. It was later learned that Julie was addicted to heroin and cocaine. The girls were devastated. They loved their mother, but her unstable parenting had taken a toll. This nightmare relationship had left them confused and angry, once again the longed for stability. Cliff’s mother offered to let the girls stay with her until they were able to join Cliff, who had now moved to Cape Coral, Fl. For the next five months, the girls lived with their grandmother, and attended school at Newton High School in Newton, New Jersey.
By this time school had become a challenge for Ashley. Moving often, and struggling to develop friendships, she was quick to find any excuse not to show up, placing her academic progress further in jeopardy. Her transfer into the North Ft. Myers system was the final straw for her disenfranchisement with school. Once again she found herself in a home situation with a father working long hours to provide for his children, and a lack of supervision that allowed her to skip school, and begin developing unhealthy friendships.
Shy and 15, Ashely was flattered when 18 year old Kemar Johnston began showing her attention. Suddenly she found the love that was missing in her life. Kemar Johnston began showering her with expensive gifts and introduced her to his friends and family. In the beginning she believed she had finally found love and acceptance. The mind of a 15 year old can be easily confused. without family for support, being with Kemar made her forget her problems and oftentimes even her family. He filled the void in her life.
Shortly after they became a couple, an unplanned pregnancy was terminated. Depressed and lost, Ashley had fallen into a controlling relationship that she believed offered her stability. Shortly after the pregnancy was terminated, Kemar became abusive. He began hitting her with belts, locking her in the closet, punching her in the arms and legs or sticking a gun to her head and threatening her when things did not go his way. After the abuse he would come crying back telling her how sorry he was. He could turn the tears on like water from a faucet. Eventually he convinced her that he did these horrible things to her because he loved her. Ashley believed that Kemar was all she deserved or would every have in life, and that she must stay with him regardless of the abuse.
The beatings got worse, and as things fell apart Kemar no longer showed any remorse. Thoughts of suicide were regularly a part of Ashely’s day. And then, the night of Kemar’s 20th birthday, Ashley’s life would change forever.
A group of friends were partying at Kemar’s apartment in Cape Coral. Liquor, drugs and guns were readily available. Eighteen year old Alex Sosa, and his 14 year old nephew, Jeffery, showed up uninvited. in the past there been some unresolved drug issues between Alex and Lopez, a close friend of Kemar. When the Sosa boys first arrived Alex came in, apparently to pay his respects to Kemar. Within a few minutes, someone in the room held up a cell phone with a recording of Alex Sosa saying threatening things related to family members and girl fiend of one of the other guests. Quickly a fight broke out, and the Sosa boys were easily outnumbered. Mike Balint tied the Sosa boys hands behind their backs, and the guns came out. Those with the guns began using knives to cut into the backs of the Sosa boys. As he passed the knife to Melissa, he yelled out “Everyone’s going to down for this.” Melissa mad her mark and passed the knife to Ashely. Fearing for her own life, Ashley cut an asterisk into Jeffery’s back.
Things quickly spun out of control, with a lot of yelling and arguing. Alex Fernandez took the bleeding, terrified Sosa boys out to his red car, threw them in the back seat., and headed out to a remote area of Cape Coral. Kemar told Ashley to get into the Lexus owned by Alex Sosa, along with Paul Nunez and they followed the red car to a small wooded area. Kemar told Melinda to drive his Cadillac and follow the Lexus, Kemar and Ashely got out of the car, but she stayed by the fearful of what would happen next. Although t she couldn’t see anything because of the darkness she could hear yelling. Suddenly, the sound of gunshots rang through the air. Kemar left the scene in a different care. Ashely returned to the apartment in the car with Melissa, Iriana, Rod and Paul spending the rest of the night in bed-Ashley lying there unable to sleep, hearing the gunshots over and over, and unable to wipe the horrifying events of the night out of her head.
Within the next week, Kemar, Ashley and the rest of the party, now referred to as the “Cash Feenz” gang had been arrested. (Shortly after her arrest Ashley discovered she was pregnant, and following her delivery of a healthy baby boy, Kemar’s parents tool Azariah and are raising him without any financial help from the state of Florida.”
Believing she had been forced to participate and that the abusive relationship with Kemar had caused her to suffer from Abused Spouse Syndrome, Ashley refused a plea bargain which offered her 25-35 years and instead chose to go to trial, at age 17 with a public defender as her only counsel. The claim of Abused Spouse Syndrome had no expert witnesses called. Ashly was convicted and sentences to life without parole. Following Ashely’s trial, ranging from 12 to 20 years including her friend Melissa.
Currently, Ashley is enrolled in a Bible College program at Lowell Correctional Institute in Ocala, FL and is working on completing her GED. She completed a Kairos program in May 2008. She continues on her journey to know and understand God’s will for her life. You can write to her at: Ashely Toye DC# Y33438, Lowell Correctional Institute, 11120 NW Gainesville Rd, Ocala, FL 34482
Ashley was not a willing participant in this crime. She understands that her own youthful decisions have played a major role in the circumstances of her life. Although she cannot change the past, she has a great deal of remorse for what has happened, and wants only to receive fair treatment for her underage, coerced participation in this crime. A legal defense fun has been established at Wachovia bank, 3041 NE Pine Island Rd. Cape Coral, FL 33909. Donations can be sent to the Ashley Toye defense fund at that address. It will take thousands of dollars to hire a qualified attorney to appeal her case and/or sentence and see that justice is done. Your donations to her defense are greatly appreciated. Should her appeals run out with no other legal options available to her, any remaining funds n the account will be set aside in a college fund for her son Azariah. Thank you for taking time to read Ashley’s story. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.