Neighbors talk about correct arrest

Clay County deputies originally arrested wrong woman in grand theft case

Ashley Odessa Chiasson appears in a Clay County courtroom Friday morning.
Ashley Odessa Chiasson appears in a Clay County courtroom Friday morning.

GREEN COVE SPINGS, Fla. – After arresting the wrong woman twice, Clay County deputies believe they now have the right one in custody.

Ashley Odessa Chiasson (pictured below) made her first appearance in court Friday morning on a charge of grand theft. She's accused of stealing more than $1,200 worth of items from a woman who allowed her to stay at her home last year.

Deputies originally arrested and charged Ashley Nicole Chiasson with the crimes until further investigating and clearing her name.

The victim in Ashley Odessa Chiasson's case said when deputies showed her a picture of the woman wrongly arrested, she immediately told them no, that's not her.

Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Ashley Odessa Chiasson
Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Ashley Odessa Chiasson

The Ashley Chiasson detectives were looking for was living in Jacksonville, while another woman with the same name and living in Louisiana was facing charges.

Detectives said that last year Chiasson started working as a housekeeper, but the homeowner asked her to leave. When she did, deputies said she took items in the house belonging to another housekeeper who lived here, then went to the house, where the two argued.

"I had been asleep when it happened, and I got up right at the end of it when she was throwing the things out and kicking her out 'cause she has said she stole her things," said a neighbor who didn't want to be identified. "Then we just pretty much had to identify pictures to see if it was her."

Detectives found Chiasson at a Jacksonville home, where neighbors said she had been living with her boyfriend for months.

"They was alright. Both of them was alright," the neighbor said. "They hand-wash clothes just like I do. They was alright."

Now with the correct Ashley Chiasson arrested, attorney Sam Garrison, who is not affiliated with the case, said the wrongful arrests shouldn't affect the case moving forward.

"The case is going to be determined by what the evidence is against her," Garrison said. "The process that was used to actually arrest her is kind of separate and apart from that."

Garrison said it'll depend on what evidence the State Attorney's Office working with law enforcement can put together to convince a jury of her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"How and when someone else may have been arrested with some information that wasn't correct really shouldn't come into that equation at all," he said.

Chiasson is also facing a charge of attempting to defraud a financial institution. Deputies said she tried to cash a fake check at a bank in Orange Park in March.

Chiasson is being held in the Clay County jail with bail set at $25,000.

The wrongfully arrested woman's attorney said they have no comment on the latest developments and are still planning to sue the Clay County Sheriff's Office.