Ashley Fallis' parents testify in murder trial

Posted at 12:11 PM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 02:57:27-04

On day two of the Tom Fallis murder trial in Greeley, Ashley Fallis' mother told jurors, that in August of 2011, Ashley told her she was thinking about getting a divorce.

Four months later, she was dead. 

Investigators ruled her death a suicide. Her parents believed she was murdered.

The case was reopened in 2014 and a grand jury indicted Tom Fallis, a former Weld County Sheriff's deputy on a charge of second degree murder.

On Thursday, Jenna Fox testified about the events in the hours before her daughter died from a gunshot wound to the head. 

She believes investigators changed a witnesses' testimony and omitted key evidence in police reports.

During opening statements, prosecutors said Tom Fallis screamed at Ashley during a party at their house the night she died. Lawyers from both sides said Tom Fallis was upset that she wanted to smoke marijuana.

MORE | Prosecutor: Former Weld County jail deputy fought with wife about smoking weed before her death

During testimony on Thursday, prosecutors showed photos of Ashley Fallis smiling and celebrating with her friends and family on New Year's Eve 2011.

Friends and family said the party was festive. Adults were enjoying food and drinks and children were playing.

"It seemed like a normal New Year's Eve party," said Brian Bartnik, the first witness to take the stand.

Bartnik described seeing Ashley stand on Tom's feet as they danced "to their song" at the party.

"That showed that there was real love there, real caring," Bartnik said. "It seemed like they were both really into one another.

"She was happy," Bartnik said. "She seemed like she was having a good time."

Bartnik said he didn't see any signs of tension at the party and didn't see any signs that Ashley was upset. He said he left the party shortly after the ball dropped at midnight.

After the noon recess, prosecutors called Ashley Fallis' mother, Jenna Fox, to the stand.

Jenna Fox told jurors that on Dec. 31, 2011 she, her ex-husband, Joel Raguindin and several other family members had gone to Tom and Ashley’s house for a New Year’s Eve party.

She said Ashley took her into a bathroom and told her she thought she was pregnant.

Fox said she informed her that she couldn’t be, because she’d had her tubes tied.

She said a few minutes later, Tom came up and began pounding on the bathroom door and said, “You have to get out of there, we’re going to have guests.”

“He seemed very upset,” Fox said. “He seemed like he didn’t want Ashley and me talking.”

Fox told jurors that the New Year’s Eve party was pretty mellow, but that later in the evening, Tom began using the F-word quite a bit.

“At one point I went up and asked him if he could cool it with the F-word because there were children around,” she said. “He said he could use the F-word whenever he wanted.”

Prosecutors say that after the party, Tom Fallis became very agitated when Ashley asked her uncle for some marijuana and then went outside to smoke.

"Tom was very angry," Fox said.  “He was yelling, cussing and screaming.”

Fox said she had originally intended to spend the night with Ashley and the grandkids, but changed her mind because of Tom’s attitude.

“Tom said, ‘I wish you would all die.’”

Shortly after leaving the party, Fox said she sent a text to Tom asking him to cool down.

She said a few minutes later, they saw a police car heading toward the house, so they turned around and drove back.

“I ran into the house,” Fox said. “I could see blood and I could hear the kids crying.”

When asked about her initial reaction, Fox replied, "The only thing I can remember saying is, ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’”

Prosecutors said Ashley was shot in the head and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Fox says that after leaving the hospital, where Ashley was pronounced dead, family members drove to the Evans Police Department and asked them to “separate us.”

She said they wanted police to talk to them individually.

When asked about Ashley’s demeanor before she died, Fox said she was happy and did not appear depressed or suicidal.

Defense attorney Dru Nielsen asked Fox if she ever considered the possibility that Ashley committed suicide.  Fox said, “No.”

Nielsen then asked about the history of suicide in Fox’s family.

“Your mother committed suicide didn’t she,” Nielsen said.

“She did,” Fox replied.

“Your brother committed suicide,” Nielsen asked.

“He did,” Fox replied.

“There’s a history of mental illness in your family,” Nielsen asked.

“I couldn’t answer that as a yes,” Fox said.

The witness admitted that she didn’t think highly of the Evans Police Department. 

When asked if she had accused Evans Police Officer Yates of withholding evidence, Fox said, “Yes, yes.”

The defense attorney asked Ms. Fox if her family had questioned the official rulings in the deaths of her mother and brother, both of whom died from gunshot wounds.  Fox said they raised questions about the ruling in her mother’s death, but not her brother’s.

She said he had posted a message outside his door warning others to stay out and to call authorities.

Testimony will resume at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Ashley’s father, Joel Raguindin will again take the stand.

Her two daughters will also be called to testify.




The family went to hospital and went straight to the intensive care unit.  Ashley died at 3:44 a.m., her mother testified.