Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

O'Fallon Mom Jessica Howell Sentenced For Encouraging Boyfriend to Rape Infant Daughter

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Jessica Howell's still-operating Facebook profile shows her cradling her daughter, Ashlynn Lillith Peters. - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • Jessica Howell's still-operating Facebook profile shows her cradling her daughter, Ashlynn Lillith Peters.

Among the most disturbing crimes reported in recent memory, the case against Jessica Howell, 26, of O'Fallon, and her boyfriend in the rape and death of her four-month-old daughter, Ashlynn Lilith Peters, has horrified readers across the county from the moment the news broke in summer 2013.

Late last week, a circuit court judge sentenced Howell to 25 years in prison for her role in encouraging Jordan Lafayette Prince, her boyfriend and a registered sex offender, to sexually assault the infant girl in December 2012. Howell pleaded guilty on January 9 to felony abuse of a child and felony murder.

"My actions were foolish. I didn't understand the weight of my actions," she tearfully told a judge after he asked if she had any remorse.

According to court documents, Howell sent texts to Peters months before her daughter's death "suggesting a willingness to allow him to engage in sexual activity with Ashlynn."

See also: Jessica Howell, O'Fallon Mom, Encouraged Boyfriend To Rape Her Infant Daughter: Cops

While Howell faces a long sentence in prison, Prince, 26, is awaiting his own trial for first-degree murder, abuse of a child and forcible sodomy. The trial is scheduled for March 23, although St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar has already stated that his office will not be pursuing the death penalty against him.

Howell had met Prince over Facebook while she was pregnant with Ashlynn, and the two discussed his history of sexual assault against children after she discovered his name on an online sex offender registry, according to the criminal complaint.

On December 2, 2012, Howell left her daughter with Prince to spend the night. He later told police that he strangled the baby because she wouldn't stop crying.

An autopsy, however, revealed injuries consistent with sodomy. The injuries were so severe that the child would have died even if she had not been strangled, investigators said.

In the wake of the charges filed against Howell in 2013, Daily RFT reported on the unsettling Facebook posts made by Howell and Prince, as well as a memorial page she had seemingly set up for Ashlynn.

"[T]his will not be easy but i will not give up on his innocence," Howell posted to Facebook on December 9, 2012, defending her boyfriend.

Six says later, she posted, "there was so much more that played a factor to her death than [sic] police are brushing off."

See also: Missouri Couple Accused Of Plotting Infant's Rape: Inside The Bizarre Public Facebook Posts

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 13, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation