Texas prosecutors announced last week that an Austin police officer will face the death penalty for hiring a hit man to kill his mistress after she refused to abort their baby.
Prior to her death, 29-year-old Samantha Dean told colleagues and wrote in her diary that if she were found dead, Austin cop VonTrey Clark would likely be the killer.
That information was not made available to the public until July 13, 2015, more than five months after Dean was murdered, when a search warrant was unsealed, which included mounting evidence pointing to Clark as a primary suspect involved in Dean’s death.
Dean, a crime victims counselor for the Kyle Police Department, was found murdered on February 4, 2015 behind a vacant office building a few miles west of Bastrop, Texas.
An autopsy revealed Dean had been shot three times in the head by alleged hit man Kevin Watson and was approximately seven months pregnant at the time of her death.
Clark continued working as an Austin police officer for five months until he was finally fired by former Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. But only after he had fled the United States on July 17, 2015, to Jakarta, Indonesia, a country that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.
Clark’s attorney later claimed his client traveled overseas for medical treatment, although he didn’t specify a medical condition for which Clark was receiving treatment.
Clark was eventually apprehended in Indonesia as a “result of a highly secretive operation between federal authorities stretching from Texas all the way to Washington D.C. and the Indonesian government.”
In one of Dean’s journal entries, she described a sexual encounter between herself and Clark in which she felt he was going to “murder” her. Clark remained in his uniform and kept his gun on as he blindfolded and handcuffed her during the encounter, according to the journal entry penned by Dean.
In search warrant documents obtained by KXAN on July 13, Clark admitted to investigators he had an ongoing on and off relationship with Dean, which dated back six or seven years and Clark admitted he believed he was the father of Dean’s unborn child.
The report reveals Clark stating he kept his affair with Dean a secret due to his relationship with Laura Tuter, his long-time girlfriend and owner of the home where the search warrant was executed in May of 2015.
A timeline of events published by the Austin American Statesman laid out the events surrounding Dean’s murder:
Jan. 21: Dean writes in her journal that she thought Austin police officer VonTrey Clark was going to kill her during an encounter in which he had her handcuffed.
Feb. 2: Clark and Kevin Watson exchange text messages in which they discuss unspecified plans.
Feb. 3, 8:30 p.m.: Clark leaves his home after fight with girlfriend, leaving his personal cellphone and pager at home.
Feb. 3, 9:40 p.m.: Dean’s cellphone data shows she is en route to Bastrop.
Feb. 3, 9:56 p.m.: Cellphone data show three burner phones at scene of Dean’s slaying.
Feb. 3, 10:07 p.m.: Dean’s cellphone data places her at scene of slaying.
Feb. 4, 12:11 a.m.: All communication to and from burner phones ceases. Clark spotted at an Austin police substation.
Feb. 4: Bastrop County sheriff’s deputy finds Dean dead.
Feb. 10: Clark placed on administrative leave.
March 12: Search warrant for Clark’s home, car and DNA issued.
June 2: Three suspects arrested in connection with Dean’s death.
July 13: Court documents unsealed connect Clark to Dean’s death.
According to his arrest affidavit, which provides a possible motive for the killing, Clark pressured Dean to abort her baby and told her that having the child would damage his current relationship.
“Clark told Dean his life will be ruined, and he will lose his family if Dean has the baby,” the affidavit says.
According to the affidavit, a group of conspirators linked to Clark attempted to conceal their communications and subsequent actions by using prepaid cellphones.
Detectives investigating the case spent the months following Dean’s death relying on cellphone towers and text messages to piece together the murder case.
The affidavit recounts Clark’s link to a Houston man named Kevin Watson, the alleged hit man as a primary suspect in Dean’s death.
Watson’s girlfriend, Kyla Fisk, was arrested on tampering with evidence charges after she hid a sweatshirt Watson was believed to have worn by Watson on the day of Dean’s murder, according to an arrest affidavit.
A third person, Aaron Lamant Williams, was arrested and charged with retaliation after he sent threatening text messages to an Austin Police Department crisis counselor five days after Dean’s murder.
“I fucking got her. I am going to get him, then I’m coming for you,” the texts said, according to court records. “I will show you what a crisis is.”
A burner phone with a Los Angeles-area number first called Dean the night of her murder. Text messages from the number appeared to direct her to the shopping center parking lot where she was found dead, according to the affidavit.
The cellphone tied to that number and two other phones with numbers linked to Watson’s girlfriend, Fisk, converged at the scene of the murder at the same time, the affidavit said.
Detectives connected the cellphone with the Los Angeles-area number with Watson through surveillance cameras at a Houston-area Walmart that showed him at the store purchasing and activating the phones.
A series of calls between the three phones continued during the time detectives placed Dean’s phone at the scene of her death at 10:07 p.m. that night.
Shortly after midnight, at 12:11 a.m., all calls between the three burner phones ceased.
Clark’s defense attorney requested a continuance for his trial on October 31 due to the excessive amount of discovery and because the state would be seeking the death penalty.
District Judge Carson Campbell agreed to the request and set Clark’s trail date for February 5, 2019.
No trial date has been set for the alleged hit man Kevin Watson for his role in Dean’s murder.