Former SHSU student charged with murder

A former SHSU student has confessed to raping and killing a Tarleton State University student in an apparent random encounter along a Falls County highway between Waco and College Station.John Edward Wilburn, 24-year-old former criminal justice major of Conroe who last attended Sam in the fall semester of 2000 is accused of the March 4 slaying of Ashley Beasley, a 24-year-old Stephenville resident. Officials believe that the two did not know each other. This was a case of highway ambush, said Bryan-based Texas Ranger Frank Malinak. There was no warning for this young woman.Last week, Malinak coaxed the confession from Wilburn, who had been a bookkeeper at a grocery store and a part-time mail carrier.Wilburn was reportedly driving on state Highway 6 near Farm-to-Market Road 46 when he pulled alongside Beasley and shot her from his passengers side window, according to an arrest affidavit. Beasley was hit multiple times, according to autopsy reports. Her Hyundai car ran off the highway and it traveled up an embankment and through a fence before stopping, officials said. Wilburn then reportedly pulled Beasley from the car and raped her, according an arrest affidavit. Authorities found the woman unclothed. Wilburn reportedly left Conroe, where he lived and worked, about 2 a.m. the day of the slaying. A sheriffs deputy discovered tire tracks from Beasleys car about five hours later, at 7 a.m. An autopsy later revealed that Beasley was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. She was driving back to Stephenville from College Station when she was shot. Wilburn reportedly had no criminal history. Dane Beasley said his slain daughter wanted to be a teacher and work with young children. She was planning to start student teaching in the fall. Tarleton officials may award Beasley a degree posthumously, said Wanda Mercer, vice president for student services at the university.A scholarship fund is also being set up in her name, according to school officials and family members. Mercer said a memorial service is being scheduled this week at the university for students to attend. She said that Tarleton students, who were on spring break last week, will be reassured that there has been resolution to the case. We can distance ourselves from it if theres some connection, Mercer said. You seem more vulnerable if its random. What happened to Ashley Beasley is the type of random crime people fear most, Malinak said. What happened to her made no sense. Donations to the scholarship funds can be sent to: Tarleton State University Foundation, Ashley E. Beasley Memorial Fund, P.O. Box TO260 Stephenville, Texas 76402.

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