DeKalb County

‘It’s been rough:’ DeKalb suspect charged with murder, free on bond, received PPP loans

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Ten years after Vanessa “Honey” Malone was shot and killed in DeKalb County, her family has watched the man charged in her killing released from jail – again and again.

“It’s been rough. It’s been rough. The fact that we still don’t have any answers makes it even worse,” her sister Cassaundra Kennedy told Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon.

Malone was shot and killed in DeKalb County in 2012.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

“First off, I don’t think anyone charged with any kind of murder connected to the charge, – first-degree murder, second-degree murder, third-degree murder, whatever the murder is – I don’t think they should be able to bond out,” Kennedy said.

Police arrested Donald Ashe in April 2020 on a charge of felony murder. Police believe he and several other potential suspects killed Malone during an apparent robbery in a Stone Mountain apartment in 2012.

But the DeKalb County District Attorney’s office confirmed to Channel 2 he was released on bond just two months later.

Then just this year police arrested him again, this time for theft in a separate case, but just like the first time he was released on bond.

“Even worse,” said Kennedy. “How did that not revoke his bond?”


The DeKalb District Attorney’s office told Wilfon they objected to Ashe’s release.

Meanwhile, while Ashe awaits trial on the murder charge, online records show he likely received nearly $60,000 in PPP loans – the loans given out to businesses during the pandemic.

“What is that?” asked Kennedy. “I’m baffled that it’s even a possibility.”

The Small Business Administration told Wilfon they wouldn’t comment on why Ashe received the loans.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Malone’s sister told Wilfon she’s concerned her sister may never get justice.

“I’m worried that it may never come,” she said.

The DA’s office tells Channel 2 Ashe has not been formally indicted, and no trial date has been set.

The DA’s office calls the case complicated and cold, because police are still searching for other suspects involved 10 years after the crime.