An Anderson, South Carolina, man was sentenced today to 40 years in prison after he entered a guilty plea to the April 2007 murder of Talia Ashley, a 16-year-old runaway from Hollywood.
Anderson's Independent Mail reports that Stanley Dehart, now 30, confessed to hitting Ashley with a rock, then burning a mobile home with her dead body inside. She had met Dehart in Florida and vanished with him around January 2005.
A 2007 article from the same paper contains an interview with Ashley's mother, Tosca, who lives in Clearwater and who told of how Talia was bright but headstrong.
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"If you had met her, you would have been amazed at her intelligence," Ms. Ashley said, later switching to a different image of her daughter. "She just didn't want to follow rules. She would always say, 'Whatever happens, happens.' She didn't fear anything.
"At one point, she told a judge, 'It's not my mom. I just want to be free.' "