Ashley McArthur was the last person to be viewed with Taylor Wright, who became a person of interest in the case almost instantly. When Wright’s body was discovered, she was arrested for her murder.
For decades, the United States has been the center of some heartbreaking and heinous crimes; among them, the 2017 Murder of Taylor Wright by a friend Ashley McArthur was a cruel example of cold-bloodedness.
The 2017 disappearance of Taylor Wright is the subject of the April 23 episode of the investigative series. Correspondent Keith Morrison will speak to Wright’s loved ones and to her co-workers about who the private investigator was as a person. He will also describe all that happened once she went disappeared.
So to find more about where Ashley McArthur is now and more information on what exactly happened to Taylor Wright, keep reading.
Who is Ashley Britt McArthur?
Ashley served as a crime scene technician and, reportedly, was best friends with the murder victim. Taylor, the 33-year-old private investigator, and former police officer, was going through a divorce. She withdrew $100,000 from a joint account between her and her then-husband, Jeff Wright. Then, she gave McArthur more than $30,000 to safeguard on her behalf.
Read More: Did Deanna Burditt Marry Rick Harrison Because Of His Money?
What happened to Taylor Wright?
Initially, it was just considered that Taylor was missing. At the time, Casandra, her live-in girlfriend, informed officials that she had not seen her partner since September 8, 2017. They had been texting till 11:20 am, but then Taylor stopped replying.
Later in the evening, around 8 pm, Casandra got a text from Taylor’s phone stating that she required some time to get her life back on track. Officials noted that McArthur had texted her cousin inquiring if he would be on the farm that day. (He was away at a funeral).
In an interview with the police, McArthur said that both the victim and she had gone to her family’s property to ride horses. After an hour, they traveled back to McArthur’s house, from where Taylor probably took an Uber to go to a bar.
The former technician continued, “I don’t believe Taylor’s been harmed. I think Taylor is doing what Taylor does, but I don’t know, you know. She’s always come across as being tough, and never made it anything other than–She’s always carrying weapons whether it’s knives, or guns, or whatever. She’s not an easy target.”
But cell phone records pointed to the opposite. So when the cops followed up on this lead, they found Taylor’s body concealed in another farm owned by McArthur’s family, on Britt Road in North Pensacola.
She had been fired in the back of her head and was then concealed under potted soil and concrete. McArthur’s bank records also painted the picture perfectly. A cashier cheque in Taylor’s name worth $34,000 had been deposited in the culprit’s bank account. The money was then spent, and McArthur possibly even bought a boat for Brandon Beaty, a man she had an affair with.
Prosecutors claimed that when Taylor confronted McArthur about the money, it was the last time the victim was heard. On September 9, 2017, the former crime scene technician was also seen purchasing potting soil and concrete from a Home Depot on surveillance footage.
Prosecutor Bridgette Jenson pointed out that the difference in McArthur’s behavior in two different police meetings held importance— “If you look at the first interview she was flirty, maybe a little playful with law enforcement. In the second interview, her demeanor was different. I think she knew she was caught.”
At the hearing, witnesses came ahead and affirmed that McArthur had spoken of killing Taylor in other incidents as well. Audrey Warne, who is a local bartender and also one of McArthur’s friends, testified, “She said she was going to put it [cocaine] in Taylor’s beer. She said this world would be better if Taylor wasn’t here and she wasn’t a good person, once that she was too small to hurt anybody so she’d just shoot them.“
But John Berose, McArthur’s lawyer, said that his client had no financial issues. His opening statement was: “There will be no physical evidence introduced in this trial to show you that Ashley McArthur had anything to do with the death of Taylor Wright.” He explained that the type of bullet that killed Taylor could not be correlated to any of the guns that had been entered as evidence, hence decreasing the presence of a murder weapon in McArthur’s arsenal. Apart from this, he also brought up Taylor’s alleged drug use and examined the victim’s mental state.
Where is Ashley Britt McArthur Today?
Bridgette Jenson told the jurors, “Ladies and gentlemen, Ashley McArthur had a motive, Ashley McArthur had the opportunity, Ashley McArthur murdered Taylor Wright, and then she tried to cover it up with lies, concrete and potting soil.” The prosecution, throughout the trial, repeated that the motive was financial in nature.
It was noted that the defendant was at a wedding in Alabama when Taylor’s phone also pinged off a tower in the vicinity (indicating that McArthur had kept her friend’s phone).
She Was Found Guilty of 1st-Degree Murder & Sentenced to Life in Prison.
McArthur was sentenced to first-degree premeditated murder on August 30, 2019, and got a life sentence in prison. The 43-year-old is currently completing her sentence at the Lowell Correctional Institution, also known as the Lowell Annex, public records show.
The Annex is a women’s prison with a 1,500-inmate capacity located in Ocala, Florida, northwest of Orlando.
Prosecutors quarrelled that McArthur killed Wright for financial gain and presented to the jury motive and opportunity during the week-long trial, Pensacola News Journal reported.
She Was Also Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison for Other Unrelated Crimes, Including Fraud
In March 2018, while she was out on bail before her trial for Wright’s murder, McArthur was carried with arson, racketeering and fraud for separate incidents that took place before Wright’s murder, CourtTV reported. According to investigators, McArthur stole thousands from local businesses while managing her family’s company Pensacola Automatic Amusement between 2015 and 2017.
The day McArthur was assumed to meet the businesses about their lost revenue at Pensacola Automatic Amusement, a fire broke out, leading to the arson charges against McArthur.
In January 2019, McArthur was condemned of racketeering and organized fraud but not arson, and she was condemned to seven years in prison, public records show.
McArthur Appealed the Verdict but the First District Court of Appeal in the State of Florida Upheld Her Conviction
McArthur appealed her guilty verdict to the First District Court of Appeal in the State of Florida, but the court upheld her judgment and sentencing on April 16, 2021.
McArthur argued that the jury was unfairly prejudiced when a photo of herself holding and pointing a shotgun was accidentally shown. She also claimed that statements she made to investigators and cell phone records should not have been admitted into evidence.
In their judgment, the appeals court wrote that the trial court did not make an error in allowing those pieces of evidence to be heard and also added that the shotgun photo “wasn’t so prejudicial as to vitiate the entire trial.” It explained that additional testimony during the trial showed McArthur owning and holding firearms and dressed in camouflage.
It’s unclear at this time if McArthur’s legal team will try another trial of her verdict.