Crime

Boyfriend charged with capital murder in deaths of Olathe woman, their unborn child

Ashley Harlan and Devonte Wash
Ashley Harlan and Devonte Wash Facebook

A Kansas City, Kan., man has been charged with capital murder in the killing of an Olathe woman who was pregnant with his son when she died.

Devonte Dominique Wash, 26, if convicted will face the death penalty. Ashley Harlan, 23, was shot on the day she had planned to learn the sex of their child. She was about 20 weeks along in her pregnancy when she died.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe filed the capital murder charge based on the deaths of Harlan and the unborn child. Kansas allows for a capital murder charge if the defendant knowingly or purposely killed or created a great risk of death to more than one person.

Wash was booked into the Wyandotte County Jail late Tuesday afternoon , according to jail records. He was transported to Johnson County late Thursday afternoon. His bond was set at $5 million.

Harlan's body was found the afternoon of Jan. 30 inside a house at the Westerfield Townhouses off East Westerfield Place.

Harlan had moved into the Olathe house in early January from Manhattan, Kan., to be nearer to Wash with dreams of making "a happy family" for their child, friends said. She was living with her grandfather.

"I'm heartbroken because she and her baby were taken from us," said Harlan's friend, Kait Beeton, "but I'm relieved to know he's now behind bars and will remain there for life."

Beeton said friends noticed that Harlan was acting strangely in the days before she was killed, and Beeton feared Harlan's relationship with Wash was to blame.

Wash has children of his own with two other women and he shared many pictures on his Facebook page speaking of his love for them. But Beeton was worried by some of his posts in which he aired angry conflicts with the other women. She feared he might not be treating Harlan well.

"She seemed very controlled by him, which isn't her nature," Beeton told The Star in messages on Facebook. "She's a natural leader, so I knew something was up just in the way she changed before everything happened."

Harlan had an ultrasound appointment scheduled that day, her friend Tabitha Brown told The Star in January. Brown was going to be the child's godmother.

Harlan was dedicating herself to be a good mother, Beeton said..

"She believed in giving this baby a happy family and that's what she was trying to do," she said. "I wish she was here. I just hope this helps give everyone a bit of peace and allows her to rest now."

ashley harlan mugshot
Ashley Harlan Submitted photo

Police a week ago had announced that the reward for information in Harlan's death had been raised to $5,000 as police issued a plea for more tips on the case.

Police are still seeking help on the case. Anyone with information is asked to call the Olathe Police at 913-971-6950 or the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477).

According to Johnson County court records, Wash was charged in 2011 and 2013 with domestic battery. In both cases, the charges were later dismissed by prosecutors.

Harlan was not the alleged victim in those cases.

Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers most wanted fugitives.

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