Jasmine Lynn Ledbetter was born June 23, 1994, to parents Brenda and Kevin Ledbetter in Oxford, Mississippi. Brenda had looked forward to being a parent and was a full-time homemaker, reveling in her role as a mother.
Both parents showered Jasmine with love, but Brenda seemed obsessed with her child and rarely left her alone. She refused to leave her baby with a sitter for fear something might happen to her. Kevin went along with her, but worried that Jasmine was being smothered by her mother's constant hovering.
When Jasmine entered kindergarten, Brenda enrolled her in dancing lessons but Jasmine rebelled at the "girly" activity. At Kevin's urging, Jasmine began Bobby Sox Softball as soon as she turned five. Kevin became a coach and Brenda, reluctantly at first, participated as a team mother or scorekeeper making Jasmine's activity a family endeavor.
Jasmine seemed to enjoy playing softball and was very demanding of herself and her teammates and coaches. She often criticized her teammates for their mistakes, her coaches for not playing her more, and her parents for letting the coaches get away with reprimanding her. Consequently, she was not popular with other players, the coaches or other parents, some of whom characterized her as "a spoiled brat."
In school, Jasmine was an average student who balked at having her mother work as a volunteer aid in the classroom. The teachers finally had to ask Mrs. Ledbetter to discontinue her volunteer work since her presence seemed to distress Jasmine and consequently disrupted the classroom.
By the time Jasmine was in high school, her parents' marriage was in trouble and finally ended in divorce in Jasmine's junior year. In spite of her mother's interference, Jasmine maintained a good relationship with her father until he remarried.
Jasmine confided to a friend that she sensed her dad's wife, Shannon, seemed to resent her, and no matter what she did, it was wrong in Shannon's eyes. But the friend also said Jasmine sometimes did things to purposely antagonize Shannon.
When Jasmine was old enough to get a work permit, she began working part-time at McDonald's. After a few years, she took a job at Square Pizza, and worked her way up to assistant manager. Brenda was not happy that between sports, school and work Jasmine was not at home with her more often and seemed to be drifting away.
After high school graduation, Jasmine worked longer and longer hours. She had recently confided to friends that she was saving money to get away from her mother's eyes and ears and get her own space.