DALLAS (AP) — A man authorities say conspired with a former Texas police officer to kill the patrolman’s pregnant girlfriend has been charged with capital murder, according to court records and law enforcement officials.
That announcement came hours after the former Austin officer, VonTrey Clark, was brought back from Indonesia by federal agents and charged with capital murder in the February death of 29-year-old Samantha Dean. Clark also faces a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Authorities contend that Clark and longtime friend Kevin L. Watson, the second man charged, conspired with others to orchestrate the killing. Bastrop County officials said Thursday that the 31-year-old Watson is being held in Houston. Clark is being held at the Bastrop County jail, southeast of Austin.
Court records indicate Clark, 32, was willing to pay $5,000 to have Dean killed to avoid paying child support, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The pair had an on-again, off-again relationship over a number of years and court records allege Clark wanted Dean to have an abortion. Clark also wanted to conceal the relationship because he had been dating another woman, records show.
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A journal kept by Dean that investigators found in her home said Clark at one point threatened her and that she feared for her life, the court records reveal.
Clark’s lawyer, Bristol C. Myers, has denied his involvement and says Clark was not fleeing to Indonesia but instead went there for a medical procedure. Myers declined to elaborate Thursday.
Online jail records did not indicate an attorney for Watson.
Bastrop County Sheriff Terry Pickering says two others also have been charged in the matter: Kyla Fisk, 50, for tampering with evidence and 32-year-old Aaron Lamont Williams with retaliation for sending a threatening text message. Authorities say Fisk is Watson’s girlfriend and that Williams is a Clark associate.
Dean’s body was found behind a vacant building southeast of Austin. An autopsy showed she was seven months pregnant and had been shot three times in the head.
Austin media have reported that Austin police fired Clark in July for insubordination and neglect of duty.
Bali police spokesman Hery Wiyanto said Clark arrived in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, on July 19. He said Clark moved around to avoid arrest. Authorities had planned to capture him in a hotel in Kuta, on the resort island of Bali, but he escaped and rented a villa in Cangu, where he was arrested July 30, based on a notice from Interpol.
Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, told The Associated Press on Thursday that if Clark is found guilty of killing two people — Dean and her unborn child — prosecutors should consider the death penalty.
“If these charges are true then it does bring great discredit to the department,” he said.
The allegations against Clark startled fellow officers in the department, he said.
“He was very well-liked by everybody and very well-respected,” Casaday said. “That’s why this caught us all by surprise.”
Dean worked for the police in Kyle, a small city south of Austin, where she coordinated victims’ services.
FBI special agent Daniel Snow said at Thursday’s news conference that Dean was considered part of the Central Texas law enforcement community.
“We thought we had to go to great lengths to do what we had to do to bring back VonTrey Clark,” Snow said.
This story has been corrected to show that Clark was fired by Austin police, not Kyle.