Socialite calls fatal shooting of police official a “terrible accident”

It was a shooting that made headlines around the world. In May, a wealthy socialite and a senior police official were on a moonlit pier in  paradise. A single fatal gunshot rings out. Was his death an accident, was it a murder or was it something else? “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant went to Belize in Central America to speak exclusively with the woman at the center of a media firestorm.

Jasmine Hartin: I think a lot of people misjudge me… they don’t see my wholesome side.

Her name is Jasmine Hartin, seen by many as one of the most wealthy and controversial people in one of the most alluring places on earth.

Jasmine Hartin: When I decided to come to Belize, I thought that I was moving from the cold north into a paradise.

Jasmine Hartin and “48 Hours” correspondent Peter Van Sant in Belize

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Belize is a tiny Central American tourist mecca that’s also a haven for the super-rich, where jet setters and beachcombers rub elbows every day. And it’s where Jasmine, 32, was raising twins with her partner Andrew Ashcroft, a real estate developer, and son of a British billionaire.

NEWS REPORT | CHANNEL 7, BELIZE: A woman, with one of the most prominent names on the island is at the police station …

Cherisse Halsall: I’ve never had a story like this before.

Cherisse Halsall is a news reporter and anchor at Channel 7 in Belize, and a CBS News consultant. She’s been covering the case since it broke on May 28, 2021.

Authorities detained Jasmine Hartin after finding her dazed and drenched in blood on a deserted pier near her exclusive beachfront resort home.

NEWS REPORT: CHANNEL 7, BELIZE: It’s a mystery for which the intrigue is escalating.

In the water was police superintendent Henry Jemmott with a fatal gunshot wound behind his right ear. He was a man beloved by his five children and, says his sister Cherry, by the country he’d spent his life serving.

Cherry Jemmott: He had done a great job for the country of Belize.

Jasmine Hartin and Henry Jemmott Jasmine Hartin and Henry Jemmott

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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 or infidelity involved? The speculation was fueled by reports that Jasmine’s account of that night had changed. According to Channel 7, the first account she told was the fatal shot may have come from a passing boat.

Cherisse Halsall: Why would she have ever told such a wild story about a boat?

After a jailhouse visit with a lawyer, Hartin admitted she fired the fatal shot accidentally.

Hartin was charged with manslaughter by negligence and eventually released on bail.

Jasmine Hartin: The things that are at stake right now is my relationship with my children, my freedom, my business, my money, my character, my reputation and my life is at stake.

For the first time, Jasmine Hartin tells her side of the story – it’s a story that begins in her childhood. She insists she was never a spoiled rich kid.

Jasmine Hartin: I think because I grew up the way I did … all of that has prepared me for what I’ve just endured.

She says she grew up poor in Canada, as one of nine siblings in a small farming community.

Peter Van Sant: Do you remember being hungry as a child?  

Jasmine Hartin: Of course, yeah, many times.

Jasmine’s mother, Candace Castiglione, says food was in such short supply, she’d trick a local donut shop to give her stale pastries to feed her kids.

Candace Castiglione: I went in and told them I was a pig farmer.  I needed the doughnuts for my pigs … the kids … thought it was awesome.

She went to high school in a hardscrabble neighborhood of Kingston, Ontario, and set her sights on a career in dentistry — hoping to help the needy.

Jasmine Hartin: I started to do dental missions.

Peter Van Sant: And Belize?

Jasmine Hartin: I saw an opportunity to come down and do a mission here for dentistry.

She arrived in Belize in 2014. She set up shop on an exclusive island called Ambergris Caye, and made a splash on the social scene, acquiring a reputation as a party girl.

And in 2015, she met someone who would change her life. By then, she was working as a realtor and he was a potential client.

Jasmine Hartin: There was … something intriguing about his level of confidence.

It was Andrew Ashcroft.   

Jasmine Hartin: I thought he was very clever, very funny, very witty.

Andrew is a son of Lord Michael Ashcroft, a well-known conservative political figure in his native Great Britain, who’d built a billion-dollar business empire with extensive holdings in Belize. They reportedly have included ownership stakes in the phone company, two of the biggest banks, a TV station —even the main the port.  

Peter Van Sant: Once you learned that Andrew Ashcroft is the son of a billionaire, how did that impact you in your relationship? 

Jasmine Hartin: Well … I was curious about it.

Peter Van Sant: Were you in any way attracted to his wallet?

Jasmine Hartin: No

Peter Van Sant: But the potential?

Jasmine Hartin: I wanted to build something together. I wanted us to be partners.

hartin-andrew.jpg Jasmine Hartin and Andrew Ashcroft.

They got engaged in 2016, and the next year they had twins, Charlie and Ella. It was just months earlier at a brunch, that Jasmine had met the other man who would become a central figure in her future – a high ranking police official on the island, Henry Jemmott. 

Jasmine Hartin: Henry was a lot of fun … we would get together, often with groups.

Jasmine says he was on the island for about another year before being transferred, and they got to know each other well.

Jasmine Hartin: He … loved his food [laughs]. Loved my cooking, often came to ho — the house for dinner.

She says Andrew Ashcroft already knew Henry. So Jemmott’s name was on the invite list last May, when the couple cut the ribbon on their professional dream, a Marriott-branded resort worth millions. It was just weeks before the shooting. 

ANDREW ASHCROFT [at ribbon cutting]: For Jasmine and I, it marks the fulfillment of a dream to create the Alaia Resort.

Jasmine Hartin seemed to have it all: opulent lifestyle, lovely family and links to a powerful dynasty. Her life may have looked perfect, but she says by then, behind the curtains of the five-bedroom beachfront condo she shared with Andrew and the children – there was trouble.

Jasmine Hartin: Andrew and I have had a very rocky road.

They tried to make it work, says Jasmine, though they never officially married.

Jasmine Hartin: We weren’t even sleeping in the same rooms.

And she says they were essentially leading separate lives. So, on a dark night last May, when Jasmine Hartin suddenly found herself in trouble at a party, she called her friend Henry Jemmott.

Jasmine Hartin: I said, “Please come pick me up. This is bad …”

A RELATIONSHIP UNDER SCRUTINY

Peter Van Sant: Set the scene for us. … This is a very special place for you.

Jasmine Hartin: Yeah, it used to be a very special place. But now it brings back a lot of sad, sad memories. … This is Grand Colony — so that building in the back is where I lived.

Grand Colony Resort, Belize Some three days after Henry Jemmott rescued Jasmine 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.” Henry checked into the resort Wednesday, May 26.

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At the glittering center of Jasmine Hartin’s world was a fantasy — the luxurious beachfront hotels of the Ashcroft empire in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Cherisse Halsall: San Pedro is where all that money comes in, rolls in and rolls out.

Here, accommodations can go for upwards of $1,000 a night. It is just a few barefoot steps across the sand, but a world away from everyday life in this Central American nation where the average salary is around $800 a month.

Cherisse Halsall: There’s an element of race in that expats do not tend to socialize within the Black community. 

But reporter Cherisse Halsall says Jasmine Hartin and Henry Jemmott’s life journeys cut a path that straddled both  worlds.

Cherisse Halsall: Henry Jemmott is friends with a wide range of Belizean society. 

As at ease with the Ashcrofts and their enormous wealth, as he was with the working-class people he grew up with.

Peter Van Sant:  You called him King.

Cherry Jemmott: Yes.

Peter Van Sant: He’s the king.

Cherry Jemmott: Yes, he’s the king. … My parents name him “King,” because he’s one and only boy in the family.

hartin-cherry-jemmott.jpg As the only son in his family, Henry Jemmott was affectionately called “King.” Following in the footsteps of his sister Cherry, Henry became a police officer and worked his way up to superintendent.

A “king” who followed in the footsteps of his sister, Cherry.

Cherry Jemmott: Yes, we are both police officers.

Peter Van Sant: And was your brother a good cop?

Cherry Jemmott: A very good cop, very strict.

Cherisse Halsall: Henry Jemmott is an upstanding officer.

A senior police official, and a family man… dedicated father to four girls and a boy. A son, brother, and friend to many — like Gene Lopez.

Gene Lopez: He was a big fella, but, uh, he was friendly, but stern.

Peter Van Sant: Tell me about the Henry you knew.

Gene Lopez: He would assist anybody if they needed assistance.

Cherry Jemmott: He is a very good man, loved by many. He have extended his love beyond the family limits.

Peter Van Sant: Did you become good friends?

Jasmine Hartin: Well, yes. … The more I got to know him, we had a lot in common. 

Peter Van Sant: There has been a lot of talk around Belize that you and Henry Jemmott were more than friends, that you may have been lovers.

Jasmine Hartin [Shaking her head]: That’s not true. That’s not true at all.

Peter Van Sant: You guys never had a sexual relationship?

Jasmine Hartin [Shaking her head]: No.

Jasmine Hartin case: What happened on the pier?

Jasmine Hartin case: What happened on the pier?

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Still the nature of their relationship would become the heart of this story.

Cherisse Halsall: The question — is: what was such a prominent man, prominent yes, but working class, middle class, doing on a pier with someone who’s from the 0.01 percent of wealthy expats? It just seemed like a mashup and a friendship that almost shouldn’t exist.

Whatever their relationship, it was Jasmine’s reliance on the man known as “King,” that set in motion the final days of Henry Jemmott’s life. It was May 22, 2021. Jasmine says she was at a party, some 70 miles from home. 

Jasmine Hartin: A man followed me into the room and was quite aggressive with me.

Peter Van Sant: Verbally? Physically?

Jasmine Hartin: Physically—umm, in a sexual manner. … So, in that moment, I fought him off me. … I called Jemmott right away.

The man Jasmine calls her “protector” didn’t hesitate.

Jasmine Hartin: He drove an hour to come pick me up. … And he kept saying … we need to really work on getting your firearms license. 

She says Henry Jemmott wanted her to have a gun for protection.

Peter Van Sant: And you agreed to that?

Jasmine Hartin: Yes.

Peter Van Sant: And when he had that conversation did he show you his Glock pistol?

Jasmine Hartin: Yes. … He wanted me to handle it, to get a feel for it.

Peter Van Sant: When you got home did you share what happened to you with Andrew?

Jasmine Hartin: No … we weren’t really sharing a lot with each other at all.

And Henry Jemmott posted on Facebook that he was now single.

Jasmine Hartin: … he posted something about being single like “after 14 years.”

And so, some three days later, it was Jasmine’s turn to help her friend.

Jasmine Hartin: The next thing I know I get a text message from Henry saying, “Hey, can you hook me up at Grand Colony? I need to come out there for a couple of days and just blow off some steam.”

Peter Van Sant: He checked in on Wednesday May 26.

Jasmine Hartin: Correct.

Hnery Jemmott and Panny Arcreo The day after checking into the hotel, Henry Jemmott went fishing with his best friend Francisco “Panny” Arceo. Arceo says Henry was happy and that Henry told him he had a date that night.

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The next day, Henry went fishing with his best friend Francisco “Panny” Arceo. 

Panny Arceo: He was happy as happy. … I says, “So, what’s up tonight?” He said, “Well, I have a date.” I said “Who?” … He said, “That one, I’m taking it to my grave.” But he was smiling when he told me that.

Peter Van Sant: Were you that date? 

Jasmine Hartin: That’s hard to say. If he called me a date, he may just have been pulling their leg or exaggerating truth. So, I’m not sure. But I’m definitely not a date.

She says Andrew was supposed to join them. But as a full moon settled over the tropical Caribbean night, Jasmine met Henry alone.

Cherisse Halsall: I had a police report that Superintendent Jemmott … had been killed on a pier in San Pedro.

Just offshore from this pier, floating in the dark Caribbean Sea, Henry Jemmott was shot dead.

Jasmine Hartin: Next thing I know the police are there.

She had called the police herself. They took her into custody, where Jasmine reportedly spun her first version of how Henry Jemmott died.

Cherisse Halsall: Her story is that a passing boat shot Jemmott.

Peter Van Sant: And that story is from Jasmine herself?

Cherisse Halsall [nodding to affirm]: From Jasmine herself.

Jasmine Hartin: I don’t remember saying that. Like, it was such a blur. Umm, you know, and I think I was in shock –

Peter Van Sant: Were you intentionally trying to mislead police at that moment?

Jasmine Hartin: No. 

Peter Van Sant: To protect yourself? 

Jasmine Hartin: No, not at all.

Later on, the day of the shooting, Henry Jemmott’s body was brought across the shimmering waters and home, by his best friend Panny, in the same boat they’d been fishing in just a day before. 

Panny Arceo: And I said “Can’t be. Cannot be” … I’m still hurt, still bothers, still very hurt.

Peter Van Sant: You were crying.

Panny Arceo: Yes, of course, yes. 

The King was dead. The woman with connections to a wealthy, powerful family sat in a cell at the police station. And then reportedly, that story she told about the bullet fired from the boat, began to change.

There are only two people who know what happened on that pier on Ambergris Caye. One is forever silenced: 42-year-old Superintendent of Police Henry Jemmott, allegedly shot with his own gun – a Glock 17.

More than two days after being taken into police custody, the other person in this twisted drama, Jasmine Hartin, made a startling admission.

hartin-jail.jpg Jasmine Hartin behind bars in San Pedro jail.

Peter Van Sant: You have admitted shooting and killing Henry Jemmott.

Jasmine Hartin: Yes, so …

Peter Van Sant: But let me finish the question.  … was it an accident or was it murder?

Jasmine Hartin: It was absolutely not murder.  Henry was my friend. … That day changed everyone’s lives. 

Documents from law enforcement, courts and forensic experts in Jasmine Hartin’s case have not been made public. So, much of her account of that night cannot be independently corroborated. She is telling her story in detail for the first time on TV. 

Peter Van Sant: How did you and Henry Jemmott end up on that pier?

Jasmine Hartin: We were sitting on the balcony of Unit 1, which is oceanfront.

She says they were drinking.

Jasmine Hartin: Cinnamon whiskey, yeah … He took his like a shot.  You know, I was sipping mine. Then, we went — it was a full moon. The stars were gorgeous. … So, we decided, let’s go down, sit on the pier. … We were sitting on the edge, our legs kind of dangling — just talking.”     

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. 

Belize Channel 7

As he’d done after rescuing her from that party, Jasmine says Henry Jemmott again pulled out his 9mm Glock 17 and handed it to her.

Jasmine Hartin: I am not an expert with 9 millimeters by any means.

So, Jasmine says Henry began teaching her how to eject and reload the magazine clip and bullets.  

Jasmine Hartin: He said, “Let’s see if you can do, you know, unload the clip, reload it.” … So, he helped me get the clip out.  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. 

Peter Van Sant: It doesn’t make sense to people. Why are you doing this in the darkness?

Jasmine Hartin: It just kind of happened in that moment.

Jasmine claims Henry was a little inebriated, but says she wasn’t.  

Jasmine Hartin: I had had a few drinks.  Yeah.  I wasn’t drunk.

hartin-glock17.jpg On the night of the shooting, Jasmine Hartin says, she and  Henry Jemmott had been drinking before going to the pier, where she’d given him a shoulder massage and he’d tried teaching her how to load and unload the magazine and bullets from his Glock 17 service pistol – a weapon like this one.

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Peter Van Sant: It’s past midnight now.  We’re approaching 12:45 a.m.

Jasmine Hartin: Uh-huh.

Peter Van Sant: What happens?  What unfolds?

Jasmine Hartin: We’re sitting on the end of the pier together. … He makes a comment about how his shoulder’s really stiff.  And he’s like, “Just rub my shoulder.” … So, I kind of scooched back behind him. 

Jasmine says she agreed to give Henry Jemmott a shoulder massage. And then …

Jasmine Hartin: “Let’s head inside,” he said. So, I said, “OK.” So, he has the bullets to his left.  He asked me to hand him the clip from the gun.  That’s when I picked it up.  I’m still kind of behind him a little bit.

Peter Van Sant: Who’s holding the gun at that point?

Jasmine Hartin: Me.

Jasmine Hartin: So, I reach for the gun to take the magazine or the clip out, because he was going to reload it. He had the bullets there. … And all of a sudden, it went off. And — [sighs] It’s hard to talk about it still.

Peter Van Sant: Take me through that, moment by moment.

Jasmine Hartin During her interview with “48 Hours,” Jasmine Hartin took Peter Van Sant through the events she says occurred that night moment by moment. Jasmine says that she and Henry were about to head inside when he asked her to hand him the magazine clip, which at the time – according to Jasmine – was in the gun. 

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Jasmine Hartin: So … I lean over. I pick up the gun.  And I’m trying to click out the magazine and it’s not working.  So, I’m holding it like this [motions with her hands] and I’m trying to use the moonlight or whatever to see if I’m clicking the right button.

Jasmine says the barrel of the gun was pointed to the left, where Henry was sitting.

Jasmine Hartin: Next thing I know, the gun went off.

 Peter Van Sant: And did you have a finger around the trigger?

Jasmine Hartin: Not that I thought. 

Peter Van Sant:  Somehow you must have pulled the trigger. 

Jasmine Hartin: I’d — I’m — I don’t know. I — I — I mean, it was an accident, or the gun misfired. But consciously did I pull the trigger? No. 

She says Henry Jemmott never made a sound.  

Jasmine Hartin: So, the shot went off and he fell on top of me.  And all I could feel was warmth.  And I later then realized — he was bleeding on me.

Jasmine says after the shot, she struggled to get out from under Henry.

Jasmine Hartin: I was shaking him. … I didn’t know what to do. … As I’m trying to wiggle my way free to render aid, his body was slipping into the water from the dock.

Jasmine Hartin: I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if he was dead.  

She says it took time to make sense of what had happened. 

Jasmine Hartin: It was a horrible accident.

Taking Jasmine into custody, authorities discovered she was carrying a small amount of cocaine. They didn’t charge her with possession that night because it hadn’t been tested yet.   

Peter Van Sant: Had you used cocaine that evening?

Jasmine Hartin: No.

Peter Van Sant: Do you use cocaine? … Do you have a drug problem?

Jasmine Hartin: I definitely do not have a drug problem at all.  And I will say that the substance that they found was not mine.

Peter Van Sant: Whose was it then?

Jasmine Hartin: I don’t think I can say that.

Peter Van Sant:  She said it wasn’t hers.

Cherry Jemmott: It’s in her purse.

Cherry Jemmott, the police officer who inspired her younger brother “King” to get his badge, isn’t buying any of it.

Peter Van Sant: Do you believe that your brother, on a darkened night, at the end of a pier, at 12:45 in the morning, was actually showing her how to use his Glock 9mm pistol? 

Cherry Jemmott: My brother would never do a thing like that when it comes to a firearm.

Cherry Jemmott: He is so skillful, and he is so careful.

Peter Van Sant: You don’t believe in any possible way this could have been an accident?

Cherry Jemmott: I cannot believe that.

Cherry Jemmott “She should be charged for murder and not manslaughter,” Cherry Jemmott says of Jasmine Hartin.

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Cherry is hopeful that when the ballistic report is revealed, it will lead prosecutors to upgrade the charge.

Cherry Jemmott: Jasmine Hartin should be charged for murder and not manslaughter.

Either way, Jasmine Hartin was about to run into a world of trouble — a lot closer to home. 

A FUNERAL FIT FOR A KING

From the swaying palms, to the silent roads, journalist Cherisse Halsall and Peter Van Sant went looking for Henry Jemmott’s hometown roots. 

Cherisse Halsall: Peter, this is the Hummingbird Highway in Belize, and it’s the road to the culture capital, which is Dangriga, that’s where Henry Jemmott grew up, and where his family still lives.

We followed the dusty, colorful streets of Dangriga and were led to Henry Jemmott’s nephew, Edel. He is clear on how his uncle died. 

Edel:  Murder …        

Peter Van Sant: And the whole family feels that way?

Edel: Everybody feels that way.  

But authorities charged Jasmine Hartin with manslaughter, not murder. And publicly, investigators have never suggested any motive for her to have intentionally killed Henry. 

Jasmine Hartin: I had no motive to do that to my friend.

But Henry’s family believes the truth is revealed in how and where he was shot.

Cherry Jemmott: My brother was shot behind the ear … Execution style.

That shot echoed through a town famous for its music and drums — the beat Henry Jemmott loved … the heritage he was passing on to his children. 

Cherisse Halsall: We’re getting close to the church where Henry Jemmott’s funeral was held.

hartin-jemmott-funeral.jpg “Wherever he goes, wherever he did …  He shared that love with all of us,” said the priest at Henry Jemmott’s funeral.

As he had in life, the 42-year-old public servant united the people of Belize.

But how to comfort sisters who lost the brother they lovingly called King? And how to answer 6-year-old Henry III’s question? 

Cherry Jemmott: How comes my dad haven’t call(ed) me?

hartin-guardian.jpg While Henry Jemmott was mourned by a nation, Jasmine Hartin was getting a different kind of attention.

While Henry Jemmott was mourned by a nation, Jasmine Hartin was getting a different kind of attention. And, according to a prison official: 

NEWS REPORT: CHERISSE BELIZE CHANNEL 7: The 32-year-old, who will be dealt with like any other untried prisoner, will become the only Caucasian among 1,041 inmates.

Still, the people of Belize couldn’t help but wonder if Jasmine’s race, stature and wealth might benefit her. Then Jasmine was locked up for 13 days.

Jasmine Hartin: My cell … was infested with cockroaches.

When she finally made bail, roughly $15,000 U.S. dollars, it was paid for by an employee of the Ashcrofts. But Jasmine was already getting the feeling that her partner Andrew wanted her out of sight. 

Jasmine Hartin Jasmine Hartin, in the red hoodie and handcuffs holding her belongings in a white plastic bag, could have been mistaken for a drifter. But she was actually linked to a billion-dollar dynasty.

Belize Channel 7

Jasmine Hartin: The day I got out … I was expecting to be reunited with my children at home, but instead I was sent to a house in the middle of nowhere by myself, without my children, without a phone. 

Andrew arranged for the house, and for the twins to visit, but Jasmine claims he only allowed them to see her one time. Andrew claims Jasmine left the house before he could arrange another visit.

Peter Van Sant: And being apart from your children, what has that been like for you?

Jasmine Hartin: That’s one that will get me to cry.

hartin-ashcroft.jpg Jasmine Hartin, Andrew Ashcroft and their twins

Two weeks after making bail, Jasmine tried to visit the twins herself at the Grand Colony, where she had lived with Andrew Ashcroft. It was then that chaos broke out. This is part of the video Jasmine shot:  Jasmine captured the scene on her cell phone:

JASMINE HARTIN [cell phone video]: Andrew’s running, so I can’t see my children. … Security is literally stopping me from seeing my children right now.    

In a statement, Andrew later wrote that Jasmine was shouting and cursing and “behaving aggressively” toward the hotel staff.

JASMINE HARTIN [cell phone video]: You’ve been instructed by Andrew to stop me from seeing my children? That’s correct?

JASMINE HARTIN [cell phone video]: He’s inside hiding … Why won’t you let me see the children?

She is startled two days later when she’s arrested again — this time for assaulting a hotel staff member that day. 

JASMINE HARTIN [at police station, Channel 7 news report]: All I did was try to collect my personal belongings and see my children. 

And authorities add a charge for cocaine possession from the night of the Henry Jemmott shooting. Her bail is then revoked, and she’s locked up again. But not for long.

Jasmine was out again after four nights behind bars. Her bail restrictions mandated she check in with police — every day.  A four-hour round-trip drive across Belize from where she is staying. [is this correct?

Peter Van Sant:  And so, when you go in, what do you say?

Jasmine Hartin: They ask me a series of questions, where I’m staying, my date of birth.

But this day’s check-in, just two weeks after the confrontation at the hotel would prove anything but routine. 

Authorities hand her an order to appear at a custody hearing, reciting Andrew’s allegations.

Jasmine Hartin [reading from document]: “For reason that the mother of the children hardly spends anytime with the children.” First of all, I was in jail.

Andrew Ashcroft seeks full custody of his children, because Jasmine is charged with “causing the death of a police officer by negligence,” as well as the assault of that hotel employee. And claims —  

Jasmine Hartin [reading from document]: “She is addicted to non-prescription and illegal drugs and a habitual drunkard.”

It’s all a vividly different description of the woman Andrew once welcomed into his rarified world.

Jasmine Hartin: In my opinion, this is absolutely war. … This is absolutely gloves are off.

The “war” would be about the custody of the children, a powerful family and a building international scandal.    

Jasmine Hartin: Money, power, image and reputation mean absolutely everything to that family.

Next up in the war of the Ashcrofts: money. According to Jasmine, she’s been cut off financially.

Peter Van Sant: You didn’t have a bank account, a trust fund, nothing that you could draw upon?

Jasmine Hartin: Not at all.

Andrew Ashcroft declined to speak with “48 Hours” and his attorney says with legal proceedings underway, it would be “quite ill-advised” to grant an interview.

The wheels had come off Jasmine Hartin’s life in paradise. And she was running scared.

Jasmine Hartin: I’ve been through what I would consider hell on earth.

But the Jemmott family says they’re the ones going through hell as they continue to mourn the kind, conscientious man they believe Jasmine murdered.

Cherry Jemmott: She gave so many stories, so who knows when she’s telling the truth?

Central to Jasmine’s story is that she knew very little about handguns, and that Henry Jemmott wanted to teach her. But recently, images have appeared of Jasmine, in Belize, with a shotgun.

Peter Van Sant: What does that video tell you?

Cherry Jemmott: The video tell me that Jasmine is well versed, have wide knowledge of bigger firearms.

Peter Van Sant [referencing video]: This is you with a semi-automatic rifle.

Jasmine Hartin: Yes.

Peter Van Sant: It has a magazine, a clip. So, I’m guessing you know how to take out a magazine and reinsert it into a weapon?

Jasmine Hartin: That picture was from 2012 when I was at a Las Vegas shooting range. … They don’t let you load your firearms.

Jasmine Hartin 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.” 

Belize Channel 7

Jasmine Hartin: What the video doesn’t show is that it was really, probably, my 10th attempt at the watermelon. I’m not very good with [laughs] firearms.    

Jasmine says she knew next to nothing about handguns.

Jasmine Hartin:  I do not know how to handle a 9 millimeter properly at all.  As we can tell.

It would come down to this: was the gun used to kill Henry Jemmott fired by accident?

“48 Hours” asked an expert.

TESTING THE ACCIDENT THEORY 

There’s a lot riding on Jasmine Hartin’s account of Henry Jemmott’s shooting. So “48 Hours” wanted an expert opinion about whether her story lines up.

Peter Van Sant: What are you holding in your hand? 

David Katz: This is a Glock 17 9-millimeter pistol.  It’s the same type of weapon that was used in the shooting incident that occurred in Belize.

David Katz is a former DEA agent, and a veteran firearms instructor, who taught at the FBI/DEA Academy in Quantico. 

Peter Van Sant: If used properly, how safe is a Glock 17?

David Katz: These are an extremely safe.

Katz says Glock handguns are designed to withstand almost any amount of jostling without accidently firing.

David Katz: I could bang it. I could drop it. … it’s not going to go off.

But Katz says there’s one notable exception – a potential key to understanding what happened on that pier. We showed him portions of Van Sant’s interview with Jasmine.

Jasmine Hartin: I’m trying to get the magazine out.

As seen from Jasmine’s gestures, she says she was fumbling around to release the gun’s magazine.

David Katz: If her finger was on the trigger, and the trigger moved to the rear with … five pounds of pressure, the gun’s gonna go, “Bang …” 

Pulling the trigger on Glock pistols can be easier than on some other handguns, says Katz.

And accidental trigger pulls could happen to anyone.

Peter Van Sant: Let me get a sense of how much force it will take to fire this weapon. [Gun clicks] that feels pretty light to me.

David Katz: Yeah, its 5.5 pounds

Jasmine Hartin: Consciously did I pull the trigger? No.

Even though Jasmine says she doesn’t remember.

Peter Van Sant: She had to have pulled the trigger?

David Katz: There’s no doubt about it, she pulled the trigger.

Katz says trigger accidents can result from something called “sympathetic contraction” in which contracting one hand muscle, triggers others too.

hartin-katz.jpg “Let’s assume you put your finger on the trigger in this position … You squeeze the bottom fingers … Your trigger finger is gonna similarly squeeze as well,” David Katz  demonstrates with Peter Van Sant.

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David Katz: Let’s assume you put your finger on the trigger in this position … You squeeze the bottom fingers … Your trigger finger is gonna similarly squeeze as well. 

Another possible factor? Alcohol. Jasmine says both she and Henry Jemmott had been drinking that night.

David Katz: There is … no better way to get yourself hurt than by messin’ with firearms when you are impaired.

Jasmine Hartin: I was under the impression that the gun was completely empty at the time.

One or both of them could have unloaded the magazine, says Katz, forgetting there was a bullet ready to fire in the chamber.

Peter Van Sant: Based on what you’ve heard her say, and what you know about the Glock 17 … could this have been an accidental shooting?

David Katz: Yeah, it coulda been … it’s a troubling story from so many aspects, starting with why — why, you know, why she’s practicing … in the dark. But then when she talks about where her hand was when the round went off … could it have been an accidental discharge? Absolutely, yes.

We don’t know what forensics, ballistics or other tests authorities have conducted. Prosecutors aren’t saying.

Jasmine Hartin: I have no idea the evidence they have against me because they haven’t released any of it yet.

But Jasmine says Henry’s sister, Cherry Jemmott, confronted her when the two women met by chance in July.

Cherry Jemmott: I said, “Jasmine, why did you kill my brother?” Her response was, “I’m sorry, it was an accident.” …  I told her, “Jasmine, you don’t know what you have done to my family.”

Peter Van Sant: Do you believe you deserve any sort of legal punishment for what happened on that pier?

Jasmine Hartin: I believe that … it’s an, it was an accident. And I do accept any punishment that comes my way.

Her trial date hasn’t been set. Under Belizean law, she could get as much as five years for negligent manslaughter, but also as little as a fine without any more jail time.

Cherry Jemmott: It would be an injustice to the family.    

Ever since his funeral, Henry Jemmott has watched over his family from a portrait on the wall. 

Marie Tzul | Henry’s sister: The children would sit in the sofa and they play with him up there [cries].

Jasmine gets supervised visits with her kids, alternating two Saturdays on, two Saturdays off. The custody case may not be decided for months.    

ELLE [cell phone video]: I want mommy to come home now …

Henry Jemmott Henry Jemmott  was a family man and dedicated father to four girls and a boy – Henry III.

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And given the enduring mystery of exactly what happened that night, Jasmine Hartin may forever live under a cloud of suspicion. 

Jasmine Hartin: It’s haunting me. I think about how his poor kids must feel being without their dad … And I wish I could take it back.

Jasmine Hartin has not decided how she will plead to the negligent manslaughter charge.

Produced by Josh Yager and James Stolz. Lauren A. White and Iris Carreras are field producers. Addison Briley is the associate producer. The editors are Greg Kaplan, Mike Baluzy, Diana Modica and Kevin Dean. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the executive story editor. Judy Tygard is the executive producer.

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