Ashline gets life without parole

John Zick
Trieste Clayton’s mother, Cynthia Watson, and stepfather, Scott Watson, speak to the media outside the Steuben County Courthouse after Bryan Ashline was sentenced Wednesday to life without parole.

Bryan Ashline will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Ashline, 25, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Father’s Day 2010 murders of his ex-girlfriend and their infant son in Bath. Trieste Clayton, 25 and Xavier Ashline, 3 months, were stabbed to death during a domestic dispute at Clayton’s Mountview Road West apartment.

Shackled and dressed in jail-issued green, Ashline declined to make a statement before he was sentenced. His attorney, Thomas Stahr, said Ashline apologized for the killings on the witness stand and nothing he could have said Wednesday would have resonated with anyone.

Cynthia Watson, Clayton’s mother, called Ashline a selfish “monster.”

“You’ve made me a broken person,” Watson said to Ashline in court Wednesday. “You destroyed our lives forever. You’ve destroyed how I wake up every day, you’ve destroyed our holidays.”

Watson noted that Clayton’s birthday is Dec. 20.

“We celebrated her 27th birthday (Tuesday),” Watson said. “You took away from me my daughter and my grandson, who I adored. You’ve ruined me and my two girls, who looked up to their sister.”

Watson said that one of her other daughters, after • LIFE, Pg. 2

meeting Ashline for the first time, predicted Ashline -- who has a criminal history for assaulting women -- would hurt Clayton.

“I guess she was right,” Watson said. “I’m glad New York state doesn’t have the death penalty. I hope you suffer for the rest of your life. You’re a monster, and I hope you continue to suffer.”

Judge Joseph Latham described Ashline’s actions as “hellish” and said Ashline turned “their happy home into a slaughterhouse.”

“You chose not to abide by the rules of civilized society,” Latham said.

District Attorney John Tunney said life without parole “was the only appropriate sentence.” He said he wasn’t surprised Ashline declined to apologize Wednesday, saying it was “absolutely consistent” with Ashline’s actions.

Stahr, however, said Ashline is not a cold-blooded killer. He said Ashline killed Clayton and Xavier after the “kettle boiled over.” Stahr added that he agreed with Ashline’s decision not to make a statement.

“He’s had enough of his words twisted to last a lifetime,” Stahr said. “He was pretty much prepared for the worst, and expecting it.”

Ashline was convicted by a jury in November of two counts each of first- and second-degree murder and two other felonies. He will appeal.

Ashline, of suburban Albany, admitted he killed Clayton and Xavier during a domestic dispute late June 20, 2010. He was in town visiting his son for Father’s Day.

The exact circumstances of the incident remain in question, but Ashline said he attacked only after Clayton stabbed him first. According to Ashline’s testimony, he was attempting to leave the apartment with Xavier when Clayton confronted him. He said he wanted to take the child back to his home in Watervliet, but Clayton wouldn’t let him.

“What new mother would let someone take her newborn infant?” Watson said in court Wednesday.

Clayton was stabbed 13 times. One of the blows severed her spinal cord, causing instant death. A state police investigator testified that Clayton was holding Xavier when Ashline attacked.

Xavier was lying on the floor when he was killed. Ashline stabbed the boy multiple times, including once in the chest and once in the abdomen.

Ashline attempted to persuade a jury that he acted under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance and was therefore guilty of manslaughter, not murder.

Ashline testified he was afraid Clayton would not allow him to have a relationship with his son and that Clayton rebuffed his efforts for reconciliation. Also, he testified that he didn’t have an close relationship with his father, his mother worked nights and his closest sister left the household when he was 10 or 11. He also said he was bullied for years after rumors that he was gay began circulating, and he lacked the ability to discuss his emotions.

Trieste Clayton and Xavier Ashline are seen in an undated photo from Facebook.