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Dreams of Being Lawyer End With Murder

By Becky Schlikerman | January 8, 2013 12:39am
 Ashley Ferguson, 20, wanted to become a defense attorney before she found dead in July in West Town.
Ashley Ferguson, 20, wanted to become a defense attorney before she found dead in July in West Town.
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Family photo

CHICAGO — Ashley Ferguson wanted to become a defense attorney to help defend those she thought were treated unjustly.

“She wanted to represent the blacks because they’re always putting them aside,” Ferguson’s mother, Charita Rocquemore said.

“I want to defend the people,” Rocquemore said her daughter was known to say.

But Ferguson’s hopes and dreams were violently cut short when the 20-year-old student was found dead July 25 in a vacant lot in the 1800 block of West Walnut, authorities said. She had been shot in the head, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

Though Ferguson lived in the West Englewood neighborhood with her family, she used to live in the West Side neighborhood where she was found dead. Her mother believes Ferguson was in the neighborhood to visit an old boyfriend.

The stylish young woman had graduated from Crain High School and was in her second year at Harold Washington College, hoping to continue her studies in forensics and eventually enter law school. She worked as a cashier at a Dunkin Donuts at State and Lake streets.

“Ashley was on track,” her mother said, sitting in the dining room of her home where a picture of Ferguson flanked by doves looks down on the family gathering spot. “She’s a good girl.”

That’s why her murder is such a mystery, Rocquemore said.

“We don’t know who would be this mad at her,” she said, adding they speculate she may have been the target of a robbery.

Ferguson had just been paid and she had also received a late tax return, her mother said. Her boyfriend, whom she had no seen in about five weeks, had asked her for $800, Rocquemore said.

No one has been arrested or charged with her death, according to police data.

Aside from school and work, Ferguson loved to read and design and make clothes.

She was a girly-girl who was fastidious about her styled hair. A full head of hair that came over the top of her head like a muffin top earned her the childhood nickname “Miss Muff,” which stuck into adulthood.

“I can’t believe my baby is gone,” Rocquemore said, thumbing through the bible that once belonged to her daughter.