BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) – The attorney for one of the two men charged in the death of Samantha Dean filed a motion to quash the grand jury indictment Wednesday. The motion from VonTrey Clark’s attorney Bristol Myers came at a scheduled pretrial hearing Wednesday. Clark was scheduled to be in court but ended up not being brought in and the case was reset to March 9.
A dozen family members and friends of Dean’s were seated in the courtroom waiting for Clark, who’s been locked up since his arrest Sept. 2, to make an appearance. Moments after Judge Carson Campbell entered the court and began discussing other business, a prosecutor for the District Attorney’s Office quietly told Dean’s supporters to follow her to a second floor conference room. It was not clear what was discussed.
In the four-page motion, Myers argues that because there wasn’t a court reporter recording during grand jury testimony of Texas Rangers and Bastrop County Sheriff’s investigators in July, their statements ‘are forever lost’ and it amounts to a lack of due process for Clark. When the pre-trial hearing continues next month, the new motion could be front and center as Clark’s attorney tries to have the capital murder charge thrown out.
Myers nor any of the main players can comment on the motion or other aspects of the case because of a court-imposed gag order.
Mindy Montford, a Travis County attorney who is not involved in the Dean case, says typically it is up to prosecutors to record a grand jury hearing including witnesses. But it’s not against any law not to, unless the testimony comes from a suspect.
In November, VonTrey Clark pleaded not guilty to the charge of capital murder in the death of Samantha Dean. Dean was seven months pregnant when she was found shot to death in a Bastrop County parking lot early last February.Clark is accused of orchestrating the shooting death. Court documents revealed Clark told investigators that Dean was a long-time girlfriend and the baby she was carrying was his.
Judge Campbell signed a gag order preventing any attorney, witness or investigator from speaking to the media. He also agreed to seal the grand jury transcript from a hearing Oct. 21.
A second suspect in the case, Kevin Leo Watson, was in the Harris County jail on unrelated charges when he was also charged with capital murder in Dean’s death. He is due in court for an arraignment next month.