Convicted "Cash Feenz" killer hopes new law sets her free
Ashley Toye's attorney filing appeal in hopes of reducing her sentence
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - On this Halloween night, convicted "Cash Feenz" killer Ashley Toye is celebrating her 24th birthday in prison......and this year her attorney is hoping to grant her wish of being released early.
Although Toye was convicted of the brutal torture and murder of two Cape Coral teens, her attorney hopes a new law will help her to walk free. Four in your Corner investigator Mike Mason spoke exclusively with Toye and joins us now live to explain.
Earlier this year, Florida's Supreme Court ruled that sentencing a minor to life in prison may be deemed unconstitutional. That's why Toye's attorney began fighting to get her released early....even though a judge has already turned down their request earlier this month.
Mike Mason: “So why should they let you out of prison?”
Ashley Toye: “I'm not a menace to society. I'm not a monster like everybody says I am.”
Ashley Toye was born on Halloween; a night that celebrates monsters and mayhem. But the night of October 6th 2006, just three weeks before Toye turned 18, she became part of something truly evil
Ashley Toye: “Just give me a moment. I don't like talking about it.”
Mike Mason: “How did you feel when he handed you that knife and said it was your turn?”
Ashley Toye: “I just did it because I felt like I had no choice.”
Mike Mason: “What do you think he'd do to you if you didn't do it?”
Ashley Toye: “Probably kill me.”
Toye's talking about her boyfriend at the time, Kemar Johnston. It was at his Cape Coral home for his 20th birthday party where friends and members of his rap group called 'Cash Feenz' gathered to celebrate. But things turned deadly when 18-year-old Alexis Sosa and his 14-year-old nephew, Jeffrey, showed up. The Sosas were known enemies of Johnston. Before the night was over the Sosas would be tortured and shot to death, their bodies thrown into a car, and set on fire.
Ashley Toye: “The only thing I can say is that you know I've learned from this. I mean I wish it never would've happened. I wish I would've been strong enough to stop it.”
Now, six years later, Toye has had plenty of time to reflect on her role in the murders. Although she admits to some of the tortures such as using a knife to carve symbols into the teen's backs, Toye says she had nothing to do with the actual murders.
Ashley Toye: “I take responsibility for what I did. Full responsibility for what I did.”
Toye says her relationship with Johnston was abusive and he manipulated her into doing what he wanted.
Ashley Toye: ”I would get whipped. I couldn't talk to anybody, he was very controlling. I couldn't talk to my friends. It took me coming to prison to get me out of that lock that he had on me.”
Toye doesn't feel she deserves to spend the rest of her life behind bars. And Florida's Supreme Court seems to agree. This past June a ruling determined sentencing a minor to life in prison may be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
Stuart Pepper: “They reasoned that, Okay, you can't execute juveniles but when you have someone sentenced to life in prison it's a death sentence. You're going to die in prison. What's the difference?”
Cape Coral attorney Stuart Pepper recently decided to represent Toye and filed a motion requesting a hearing. He hopes a judge will reduce Toye's sentence so she could be free to raise her five year old son.
Mike Mason: “What's it like having a son you don't even know?”
Ashley Toye: “It's hard. I think about it every day.”
Since going to prison, Toye has gotten her G-E-D, completed various courses, and worked as a personal trainer to her fellow inmates. If released, Toye says she hopes to counsel women who are in abusive relationships.
Ashley Toye: “My hopes are to help teenagers, as myself, I've been doing it in here, and it helps me. It helps me to know I'm not alone in this. If I could just help somebody out with whatever they're going through, whether it’s in here, or out there, even if they're older women, I've helped older women since I've been here, it makes me feel so much better.”
Even though Toye has helped women in prison many feel her involvement in the Sosa's murders is unforgivable. She hopes a judge will see things differently.
Mike Mason: “Do you deserve a second chance?
Ashley Toye: “I feel I do. By saying I'm a murderer and a killer, no definitely not.”
Attorney Stuart Pepper plans to file his appeal this Friday. Since we aired our first report many viewers have expressed outrage that a Judge would even consider letting Toye out of prison.
We'll let you know how it all turns out.