‘No gray here’ for victim’s wife
November 10, 2005
For Mimi Ash the law is pretty much black and white. The man who stabbed her husband to death on a mid-August morning in Tahoe City did just that. Nobody is refuting that fact – not even the defendant, Timothy Brooks.Simple black-and-white murder, Ash says. Obliterating any shades of legal gray, as far as the widow is concerned, is that following the encounter between her husband, Robert Ash, and Brooks on the highway near Squaw Valley, Brooks spent a half-hour looking for the father of her 14-year-old son.When Brooks, accompanied by his wife, finally found Robert Ash sitting outside a Tahoe City bagel shop they approached him and an argument ensued. The result was a stab wound that would end up leaving Robert Ash dead in a Reno hospital.Simple murder in Mimi Ash’s mind. But at a hearing on Oct. 28, Judge James Dawson reduced the murder charges against Brooks to voluntary manslaughter. The decision, Mimi Ash said, “was a slap in the face.””It’s premeditated murder,” she said. “He packed a knife after 30 minutes. That’s well thought out.”There is no gray here.”Because of her rock-solid belief that her husband was murdered with forethought and not in a sudden act of passion, Mimi Ash said she is trying to get the Placer County District Attorney’s office to reinstate the murder charge at Brooks’ next hearing Tuesday in Auburn.But even though the judge’s decision to reduce the murder charge shook her belief in the system, Mimi Ash said she won’t let everything that has passed – including the defense trying to question her dead husband’s character – knock her off course.”I don’t feel helpless,” she said.What Mimi Ash does feel, however, is “disgust.””Of course I get incensed,” she said of the defense’s effort to turn the tables on her murdered husband. “No one knew him like I did. He was a good man. That’s all I have to say.”Robert and Mini Ash had just finished building their dream home in Newcastle and had a home in Truckee. As a team they had developed and just started construction on a townhome project off of Palisades Drive.After 22 years together in which they had a son, Mimi Ash said the couple had just hit their stride.”We worked very hard,” she said. “We had just reached the point in life where the best days were ahead of us.”As for the best and worst of days, August. 17, the day his father was murdered, marked the first day of high school for Mimi and Robert Ash’s son. Despite the sad milestones, Mimi Ash isn’t going to let the courts or the defense wear her down.”I don’t like to feel victimized,” she said. “There is never going to be justice because a good man lost his life.”But I believe at the end of the day we’ll achieve the results this deserves. The only thing that gives me comfort is knowing I had 22 years with him.”Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.