A Perryman man has been convicted of second-degree murder in the 2015 shooting death of a man during a fight that began when the victim drove into a trailer park looking for the wife of the man who shot him.
James Allean Ashford, 39, was convicted Friday by a Harford County Circuit Court Jury, according to the county State's Attorney's Office. Ashford was also convicted of first-degree assault, two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence, illegal possession of a regulated firearm and reckless endangerment.
Ashford, who had faced a first-degree murder charge, was accused of fatally shooting Joshua Allen Walter, 28, during a fight in the 400 block of Busby Drive in Perryman on Aug. 25, 2015.
The jury rejected Ashford's claim of self-defense, "by way of convicting him on second-degree murder," Assistant State's Attorney David Ryden, who prosecuted the two-week trial, said Tuesday. Ryden declined to comment further on the verdict, citing Ashford's pending sentencing.
Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies initially responded to a trailer park on Busby Drive shortly after 8 a.m. on the day of the shooting for a report of pedestrian struck by a vehicle during a domestic dispute, a Sheriff's Office spokesperson said at the time.
Deputies discovered Ashford immobilized and suffering injuries from a motor vehicle accident, according to police charging documents. He told police he had been run over and might have sustained a broken hip.
The vehicle involved was found a short distance away, with Walter, whose address was given by police as Millgreen Road in Street, inside the vehicle suffering from one gunshot wound to the left upper chest. He was taken to Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace, where he died.
According to a State's Attorney's Office news release, evidence presented at trial showed that Walter had driven to the end of Ashford's street in search of a woman known to both men. Ashford exited his house and fired two shots from a .32 caliber revolver over Walter's car, which sat idle as Ashford approached. Ashford then fired a third and fatal shot through the driver's side window.
After Walter was shot, the two men struggled through the driver's side window of the vehicle, which hit Ashford and caused his injuries. Walter's vehicle then reversed down Busby Drive, striking multiple vehicles before coming to a stop.
Ashford was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, where he was treated for his injuries. Following his discharge from the hospital, he was ordered held without bail pending his trial.
Police charging documents stated that Ashford and his wife had separated and she had begun a relationship with Walter that had ended when the Ashfords had reconciled. The charging documents also stated that Ashford also had allegedly previously threatened Walter with a gun.
Ashford is scheduled to be sentenced by retired Circuit Judge Stephen M. Waldron on Dec. 12. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 115 years incarceration, according to the State's Attorney's Office.