WILKES-BARRE — An ex-boyfriend stands accused in the stabbing death of a Wilkes-Barre Township woman and police say the suspect tried to take his own life, leading to his arrest.
Anthony Dion Shaw, 41, faces an open count of criminal homicide in the death of Cindy Lou Ashton, 39, on May 1 or early May 2.
Shaw was taken into custody in New Jersey and was awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania on Wednesday, officials said.
In a suicide note discovered by investigators, Shaw allegedly offered a message to the dead woman’s kin before unsuccessfully trying to kill himself.
“To the Ashton family, I hope your (heart) is big enough to forgive me,” the note reads, according to an affidavit. “I was a down person and Cindy pushed me down more. This doesn’t justify my actions. I’m so sorry!”
Investigators said Shaw admitted traveling to Ashton’s apartment May 1 to “discuss his relationship with her,” and that Shaw attempted to take his own life two days later at his apartment in East Orange.
A criminal complaint was filed under seal in the county Clerk of Courts Office on Tuesday. It was unsealed Wednesday after District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis announced Shaw’s arrest.
According to the complaint:
When Ashton failed to show up for work at Mondelez Industries in Hanover Industrial Estates on May 2, her employer contacted township police to conduct a welfare check.
A township officer was dispatched to conduct the check, visiting the four-unit apartment building Ashton owned at 132 Nicholson St. just before 6 p.m.
The officer was let into the building through an unlocked community access area in the basement by Ashton’s uncle, Tracy McCoy.
McCoy then allowed the officer to enter Apartment 4, where Ashton’s body was found in a bathroom.
An autopsy by forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross revealed Ashton died from multiple stab wounds. Her death was ruled a homicide by Luzerne County Coroner William Lisman.
Investigators allege Shaw killed Ashton with a Gerber folding knife he purchased at Kmart on Route 309, which is located less than a mile away from the apartment building.
Shaw told investigators he drove from East Orange to Nicholson Street on May 1 to speak with Ashton about their relationship. Shaw claimed they agreed to remain “friends with benefits.”
Investigators believe Shaw entered Kmart at 6:17 p.m. on May 1, and purchased a Gerber folding knife and socks at 6:44 p.m.
Shaw used the same bank card to purchase gasoline at a service station in White Haven at 8:10 a.m. May 2.
Kmart surveillance cameras recorded Shaw without bandages on his thumb, but surveillance cameras at the White Haven service station recorded Shaw with a bandage on his thumb.
Shaw claimed he was at Ashton’s residence until 7:30 a.m. May 2. A video camera near Ashton’s apartment showed Shaw leaving at 7:48 a.m., about 10 hours before Ashton’s body was found.
Other cameras recorded Shaw moving Ashton’s vehicle on Ketchum Street, near Nicholson Street, early May 2.
When Shaw attempted to take his own life, he was rushed to Rutgers University Hospital.
While Shaw was in the New Jersey hospital, authorities searched his apartment and said they found the handwritten note and a Gerber folding knife with suspected blood on it.
Investigators also found a Kmart receipt in Shaw’s vehicle, with suspected blood on it, reflecting the purchase of the folding knife and socks.
Shaw told investigators the note was in his handwriting, but he didn’t recall writing it.
They asked him why he was apologizing to Ashton’s family, and he replied it was because he and Ashton had broken up.