A former Texas police officer has admitted that he fatally shot his pregnant girlfriend, reversing his not guilty plea and bringing his capital murder case to a close just months before he was scheduled to go on trial.
Ex-Austin officer VonTrey Clark will be sentenced to life in prison without parole under the plea agreement, the Austin American-Statesmen reported. Prosecutors had sought the death penalty.
Clark, 36, read his confession in the Bastrop County state District Court on Monday afternoon. Among those gathered in the courtroom was 29-year-old Samantha Dean's family and supporters.
"The one person that I can turn to for moral advice or support is gone, thanks to you," Dean's sister, Taylor Dean, told Clark after his confession.
"You stole my favorite person," she continued, saying that she thinks about the day Dean was killed every day.
Samantha Dean's body was found in February 2015 behind a deserted office building in Bastrop County. She had been shot three times. Dean, then a Kyle police crime victims counselor, was seven months pregnant with Clark's child.
Clark, who has a family with another woman, urged Dean to get an abortion, prosecutors said. When she refused, Clark hired two men to kill Dean for $5,000, they said.
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The Austin Police Department fired Clark in July 2015 after he fled to Bali, Indonesia, without permission to leave Travis County. Indonesian police detained Clark the following month on a visa-related issue.
Federal agents extradited Clark back to the United States that September. He was detained in the Bastrop County Jail and indicted on a capital murder charge that October. He pleaded not guilty a month later.
In November 2015, a Bastrop County grand jury indicted one of Clark's two accused associates in the murder-for-hire plot for murder. Kevin L. Watson initially pleaded not guilty in 2016 but he amended his plea to guilty in September this year. He is expected to serve 35 years in prison.
Also in September, a grand jury indicted Clark's second accused accomplice, Freddie Smith, on a murder charge. Smith's arraignment is slated for Jan. 6.