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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.
"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.' "