An Indiana Woman Allegedly Killed Her Husband By Poisoning His Root Beer Float — And Her Daughter Helped

Published November 9, 2023

Harold Allen died in December 2022, and now police say his wife Marsha Allen and stepdaughter Ashley Jones poisoned his root beer float with a chemical found in antifreeze.

Marsha Allen Ashley Jones

Jackson County Sheriff’s OfficeAshley Jones is accused of plotting to kill her mother’s husband by poisoning his root beer float.

In November 2022, Ashley Jones and her mother Marsha Allen allegedly put a nefarious plan into motion. According to police, the two women were plotting to kill Marsha’s husband, Harold Allen, and they started conducting research on “various poisons” that would do the job.

Their search reportedly led them to purchase foxglove seeds, which are highly toxic and can even be deadly when ingested. Marsha allegedly put these seeds in chili and brownies that she then fed to Harold, but when they only made him ill, the women switched directions. Court documents claim that they then ordered ethylene glycol, the chemical in antifreeze, and laced Harold’s root beer float with it.

According to a report from WTHR, police initially had no suspicions of foul play surrounding Harold’s death on Dec. 20, 2022.

But nine months later, on Sept. 19, 2023, that all changed. Then, Marsha called the police to report an attempted burglary in her home — the same home where her husband had died nearly a year earlier.

Per Law & Crime, two men were identified as suspects in the burglary: Nathaniel Napier and Steven White.

When police brought them in for questioning, however, White’s story unexpectedly shed a new light on the death of Harold Allen.

White told investigators that he and Napier had been asked to burglarize the home by none other than Ashley Jones. Even more shockingly, White informed police that Ashley had told him she and Marsha were responsible for poisoning Harold.

Marsha Allen denied this when detectives spoke to her. She also consented to a search of her phone — which allegedly revealed a number of incriminating texts.

“In Marsha’s cell phone there were many text messages, beginning in November 2022, between Marsha and Ashley in which the two discussed poisoning Harold,” the court documents noted.

Harold Allen

Buchanan Funeral HomeHarold “Peanut” Allen was allegedly murdered by his wife and stepdaughter in December 2022.

Documents also state that Marsha had searched online queries such as “What happens if you eat foxglove seeds,” “How much foxglove is fatal,” and “How long does foxglove take to kill you” just before texting Ashley to state that she wanted to purchase foxglove seeds.

In late November, Harold Allen visited the hospital with complaints of numbness on one side of his face — a common sign of foxglove toxicity. Days later, he returned with even more symptoms of poisoning, including diarrhea, stomach pains, and vomiting.

The foxglove was making Harold Allen sick, but it wasn’t killing him. So, Ashley Jones and Marsha Allen allegedly decided to change strategies.

They reportedly placed an order for ethylene glycol instead.

“Ethylene glycol is a colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting compound used in consumer products, including antifreeze. Ingestion of ethylene glycol can result in death in humans,” court documents read.

On Dec. 19, 2022, police say Ashley Jones texted her mother, “The mail is here :),” to which Marsha Allen later responded, “Hes all in for root beer floats.”

A day after this text exchange, Harold Allen died. Marsha texted Ashley at 7:55 a.m. on December 20 asking her to “come here,” at which point she allegedly told her daughter that Harold was acting “drunk and loopy.” Five hours later, Marsha called an ambulance — but Harold was already dead.

Ashley Jones was arrested on Oct. 3, 2023, on charges related to Harold’s murder. A further search of her phone revealed that she had been texting Steven White and bragging, “I planned it all.”

Harold And Marsha Allen

Buchanan Funeral HomeHarold and Marsha Allen.

Jones also allegedly complained that her mother needed her help to get into a “dead man’s phone” and “get all his retirements and savings he had hidden.” In the message, she claimed that she helped her mother take $4,500 from Allen’s PayPal credit card before the company could learn of his death — and she was upset that she did not receive any of it.

“I showed her how to scam it as him before they find he’s gone she’s fake af,” she allegedly wrote. “She didn’t gimme s—t out of that.”

On October 16, police re-examined Marsha Allen’s home and questioned her about her husband’s death. She was found dead herself later that day.

“The investigation into Marsha’s death is ongoing, but suicide is suspected,” court documents state.

Ashley Jones, meanwhile, faces charges for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and consumer product tampering.

After learning about the murder of Harold Allen, read about how this Indiana woman was caught killing her husband with a poisonous mushroom thanks to her search history. Or, learn about the man who claimed to be Jesus and then sawed off his own foot in front of his daughter.

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.
Cara Johnson
A writer and editor based in Charleston, South Carolina and an assistant editor at All That's Interesting, Cara Johnson holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Washington & Lee University and an M.A. in English from College of Charleston and has written for various publications in her six-year career.
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Harvey, Austin. "An Indiana Woman Allegedly Killed Her Husband By Poisoning His Root Beer Float — And Her Daughter Helped.", November 9, 2023, Accessed May 25, 2024.