Hartford Woman Pleads Guilty To Killing Rival Drug Dealer

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Ashley Howard, 27, pleaded guilty to murder in the killing of a rival crack dealer. (Hartford Police Department)

A woman charged with murder for gunning down a rival crack dealer pleaded guilty Tuesday in Superior Court in Hartford and faces 40 years in prison at her sentencing Aug. 28.

Ashley Howard, 27, pleaded guilty to murder and admitted to violating the terms of her probation from a previous offense.

Police said she shot and killed Michael Bailey Jr. on June 9, 2012 after the two argued over drug turf.

She fled Hartford after the killing but was found by bail agents who’d tracked her to New Jersey. She was taken into custody by local police there, and then turned over to Hartford detectives, who built the case against her.

Bailey, 24, was found in a parking lot at 99 Ashley St. with multiple gunshot wounds. The medical examiner said he died of gunshot wounds to the head.

The man police say was Howard’s accomplice, Chad Gatewood, has rejected plea offers and is awaiting trial. He faces murder, conspiracy and other charges.

Police said they determined that Bailey was selling drugs the night of June 8, 2012 and into the morning in Howard and Gatewood’s drug territory, according to an arrest warrant.

Bailey had sold $8 worth of crack of cocaine when Howard confronted him, according to the warrant. Bailey responded that he could sell drugs anywhere he wanted.

Gatewood then allegedly told Howard “Don’t let him talk to you like that” and handed her a gun.

She fired several shots at Bailey, collected the shell casings, then fled with Gatewood, police said.

Bailey’s family said they would reserve comments for the sentencing.

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