Jasmine Hartin case: What happened on the pier?
A wealthy socialite and a senior police official end up on a moonlit pier in paradise. Then a single fatal shot rings out. Locals called it the crime of the young decade, but what happened?
After midnight on May 28, 2021, authorities found 32-year-old Jasmine Hartin pacing on a pier covered in blood near the five-bedroom condo she shared with her common-law husband, Andrew Ashcroft, the son of a British billionaire. Just off the pier, Police Superintendent Henry Jemmott was floating in the Caribbean Sea, shot dead.
Who is Jasmine Hartin?
Jasmine Hartin says that a lot of people misjudge her. "People perceive me as being -- a billionairess and this -- entitled, spoiled rich girl and this wild, crazy party girl that's hanging from rafters. That's not it at all. I'm a businesswoman. I'm a mother. I'm a friend… I'm a wife."
Police Superintendent Henry Jemmott
Henry Jemmott had a wide range of friends in Belizean society. He was as at ease with the Ashcrofts and their enormous wealth, as he was with the working-class people he grew up with. As the only son in his family, he was affectionately called "King." Following in the footsteps of his sister Cherry Jemmott, Henry became a police officer and worked his way up.
The birth of the Alaia
Jasmine Hartin arrived in Belize in 2014 and made a splash on the social scene. A year later, her life changed when she met Andrew Ashcroft. In May 2021, just weeks before the shooting, the pair cut the ribbon on their professional dream: a Marriott-branded resort worth millions. Though Hartin seemed to have it all, she says there was trouble in her relationship with Ashcroft and they were essentially leading separate lives.
Jasmine Hartin's protector
On May 22, 2021, Hartin says she was at a party some 70 miles from home when she says a man followed her into a room and was quite aggressive with her in a sexual manner. After fighting the man off, Hartin says she called her "protector," Henry Jemmott. Hartin says Jemmott drove an hour to come pick her up and urged her to get a gun for her protection in the future. She says Jemmott even showed her his Glock 17 weapon so she could, "get a feel for it."
A favor returned
Some three days after Jemmott rescued Hartin from the party, it was Jasmine's turn to help her friend. She says she received a text message from Henry asking to stay at the Grand Colony for a couple days and "just blow off some steam." Jemmott checked into the resort Wednesday, May 26.
The day after checking into the hotel, Henry Jemmott went fishing with his best friend Francisco "Panny" Arceo. Arceo says Jemmott was happy and that Henry told him he had a date that night. Arceo told "48 Hours" that when he asked Henry who he was going on a date with, Jemmott replied, "That one, I'm taking it to my grave."
Alone on a pier
Documents from law enforcement, courts and forensic experts in Jasmine Hartin's case have not been made public. Much of her account of that night cannot be independently corroborated. Hartin told her story in detail for the first time on American TV to "48 Hours" starting with how she and Henry Jemmott ended up on that pier alone. Hartin says she and Ashcroft were supposed to meet Jemmott for a drink, but Ashcroft backed out last minute. As a full moon settled over the tropical Caribbean night, Hartin met with Jemmott alone. She says they were sitting on Jemmott's oceanfront balcony drinking whiskey and admiring the stars when they decided to go down and sit on the pier.
Private gun lessons
As he'd done after rescuing her from that party, Hartin says Jemmott again pulled out his 9 mm Glock 17 and handed it to her. Hartin says Jemmott began teaching her how to eject and reload the magazine clip and bullets. "He helped me get the clip out," said Hartin in a sit-down television interview with "48 Hours" correspondent Peter Van Sant. "I was unloading it. Then he took the bullets and put them beside him … I was under the impression that the gun was completely empty at the time."
Moment by moment
During her interview with "48 Hours," Hartin took Van Sant through the events she says occurred that night moment by moment. Hartin says that she and Jemmott were about to head inside when he asked her to hand him the magazine clip, which at the time – according to Hartin – was in the gun. "And I'm trying to click out the magazine and it's not working," says Hartin. "So, I'm holding it like this and I'm trying to use the moonlight or whatever to see if I'm clicking the right button." She says the barrel of the gun was pointed to the left, where Jemmott was sitting. "Next thing I know, the gun went off."
With a respected police officer dead and a wealthy powerful woman in a concrete jail cell there were rampant rumors about Jasmine Hartin and Henry Jemmott: were drugs and infidelity involved? The speculation was fueled by reports that Hartin's account of that night had changed. According to Channel 7 in Belize, the first account Hartin told was that the fatal shot may have come from a passing boat.
After a jailhouse visit with a lawyer, Hartin reportedly admitted she fired the fatal shot– accidentally. Hartin was charged with manslaughter by negligence and eventually released on bail.
A grieving family
Henry Jemmott was beloved by his family and the people of Belize whom he had spent his life serving. The Jemmott family, including his three sisters, does not believe Hartin's account of what happened the night Henry died. Henry's sister, Cherry Jemmott, pictured right, said, "She gave so many stories, so who knows when she's telling the truth?" Cherry Jemmott doesn't believe the shooting was an accident and says her brother was shot behind the ear, "execution-style."
The family is hopeful that when the ballistic report is revealed, it will lead prosecutors to upgrade the charge to murder.
What did Jasmine know?
Central to Hartin's story is that she knew very little about handguns and that Henry Jemmott wanted to teach her for her own protection. But video appeared of Hartin in Belize with a shotgun. Cherry Jemmott says, "The video tell me that Jasmine is well versed, have wide knowledge of bigger firearms." Hartin says, "What the video doesn't show is that it really was probably my tenth attempt at the watermelon. I'm not very good with firearms."
With so much riding on Hartin's account of Henry Jemmott's shooting, "48 Hours" decided to consult an expert opinion about whether her story lines up. David Katz is a former DEA agent, and a veteran firearms instructor who taught at the FBI/DEA Academy in Quantico. After Katz was shown portions of Hartin's interview, he conceded that "it's a troubling story from so many aspects, starting with … why she's practicing … in the dark?" However, Katz says that Hartin's description of where her hand was when the gun went off leads him to believe it, "absolutely," could have been an accidental shooting. Prosecutors have not released what forensics, ballistics or other tests authorities have conducted.
Struggling with loss
Ever since his funeral, Henry Jemmott has watched over his family from a portrait on the wall. The family is waiting for the trial and hopes to get what they would consider justice. For them, justice would be Jasmine Hartin charged with murder. For her part, Hartin says she would "accept any punishment."
Hartin's trial date hasn't been set yet.
Under Belizean law, she could get as much as five years for negligent manslaughter, but also as little as a fine without any jail time.