Before infant’s death, Phenix City mom reportedly said she lacked sleep, baby kept crying

Local News

News 3 is learning additional details in the tragic death of a four-month-old boy in a Phenix City apartment fire on Wednesday morning.

Ashley Nicole King is charged with capital murder and faces the death penalty if she is convicted by a jury. The 31-year-old King appeared briefly in court Thursday morning.

Phenix City police tell News 3 a property manager at Clover Leaf Apartments on Stadium Drive went to 29-D about 30 minutes before the fatal fire on a noise complaint. King told the manager she had no sleep and the baby would not stop crying.

The apartment was rented by King’s boyfriend. She was not on the lease, according to police.

At 10:14 a.m. authorities were called to a fire at the complex. 

Firefighters were let into the apartment by maintenance, police said. They rescued King and found the infant with severe burns and non-responsive to medical personnel. The baby was pronounced dead at the Piedmont Columbus Regional Midtown campus.

After King was rescued she retreated to nearby woods. King had an outstanding warrant and was taken into custody at the apartment complex by Phenix City police. She was charged with capital murder because the victim was under 14 years old.

During the hearing in front of District Court Judge Walter Gray, King was not represented by legal counsel. Gray read the charges. He appointed Phenix City attorney Jeremy Armstrong to represent her.

King showed no emotion during the short hearing. She sat alone and clasped her hands as Grey read the charge.

Armstrong is the foremost capital defense attorney in east Alabama. He has been defense counsel in nearly 40 capital cases. Armstrong has 10 active capital cases in Russell County. 

Armstrong declined to comment Thursday morning.

King was ordered held without bond in the Russell County Jail. Her next court appearance will likely be in 45 to 60 days in front of Circuit Court Judge David Johnson.

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