Jessica Ewing, 24, entered an Alford guilty plea to the first-degree murder of her 21-year-old friend, Samanata Shrestha. An Alford plea allows a defendant to maintain innocence while acknowledging prosecutors have enough evidence to make a case. In addition to the first degree murder charge, Ewing also pleaded guilty to a felony charge of altering, transporting, or concealing a body.
The Roanoke Times reports that Virginia Tech student Jessica Ewing entered an Alford guilty plea yesterday for first-degree murder charges. Ewing was charged with the strangulation of her new friend, Samanata Shrestha, who she may have been experimenting with sexually prior to the murder. According to the court documents, Shrestha invited Ewing over to her apartment on Feb. 7, 2014, for a homemade dinner. However, Shrestha would not make it out of the dinner alive. Ewing is said to have strangled Shrestha in a “fit of intense hatred” at some point during the night.
Ewing did not report the death. Instead, she wrapped Shrestha’s naked body in a sleeping bag and put it in the back of her 2004 Mercedes. Shrestha was reported missing and police would not find her body for three days. Ewing was immediately arrested and charged with the murder. However, until Thursday, it was not known what Ewing would use as defense in the case. Many were shocked by the guilty plea, but as the evidence compounded, including startling diary entries written by Ewing, the case appeared to be solid.
The Daily Mail reports that excerpts from Ewing’s diary seem to refer to the murder and the days that follow. In one diary entry, Ewing asks what her future holds, does it include the death penalty?
“What the hell is my future going to be? an eternity in prison? Death penalty **** off on insanity, mental what the f*** have you done for that god d***** girl.”
Ewing also implicates a friend that may have helped her move Shrestha’s body. She claims another friend, Keifer Kyle Brown, “failed” the “friendship test” by not immediately helping her do away with the dead body.
“Damn Keifer some friend he f*** **** won’t even help me move a g**-****** body in the middle of the [undecipherable], friendship test failed.”
The damning diary entries are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the murder. A student, Erika Holub, from Ewing’s bible study group, says that Ewing came to bible study the day after Shrestha’s death and says she murdered somebody. She says that Ewing claimed the person she murdered was “a good person” and an EMT. Shrestha worked part-time as an EMT in her spare time.
Ewing also sent a disturbing text message to a friend at 3 a.m. on the night of Shrestha’s murder that noted her “black heart.”
“tomorrow night is worrisome… I can’t stop this idea, it slowly creeped it’s way to consume my black heart. I want to… let someone else decide, but ive [sic] already etched it in history. [sic]”
The police note that a murder by strangulation is very personal. Shrestha’s boyfriend at the time of her murder, Scot Masselli, says he knows the pair of women had kissed but also had speculations that they were experimenting sexually.
Ewing could face life in prison for murder, as well as five additional years for the concealment charge. Even though she entered an Alford guilty plea, Ewing did not enter into a plea agreement.
[Image Credit: Roanoke Times]