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Boyfriend of killer convicted
Naked picture of girlfriend leads to felony conviction.

Date published: 1/21/2012

BY KEITH EPPS

A young Spotsylvania County man was convicted of a felony yesterday for having sexually explicit pictures on his cellphone of his teenage girlfriend, who recently pleaded guilty to killing her mother.

Eddie Wayne Chewning, 19, was convicted of child abuse in Stafford Circuit Court.

In return for Chewning's decision not to contest the charge, prosecutor Michael Hardiman dropped six related child-pornography charges.

Chewning's girlfriend is Ashleigh Nicole Dye, 18, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder this week for the July 5 slaying of her mother, 62-year-old Brenda Dye.

Chewning is charged with being an accessory to first-degree murder and being an accessory to using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Police have accused him of helping Ashleigh Dye plan her mother's death and encouraging her to carry it out. A trial date for those charges will be set next week.

Brenda Dye was shot in the face and chest by her daughter. The investigation revealed that Ashleigh Dye was upset with her mother in part because she disapproved of her relationship with Chewning.

While investigating the Dye slaying, police seized Chewning's phone and found the pictures. Chewning was 18 at the time and Dye was 17.

Chewning was initially charged with seven counts of child pornography.

The child-abuse charge carries a potential prison term ranging from two to 10 years, the same as a child-pornography charge.

But the pornography charge would have required Chewning to register as a sex offender, something the child-abuse charge does not require.

Defense attorneys Robin Krueger and Martha Norton are representing Chewning, who will be sentenced on the child-abuse conviction on March 26.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404
Email: kepps@freelancestar.com