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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A former Texas police officer has been extradited from Indonesia and charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of his pregnant girlfriend near Austin.
VonTrey Jamal Clark arrived at an Austin airport late Wednesday and was booked into the Bastrop County Jail, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Clark, 32, is charged with capital murder in the death of 29-year-old Samantha Dean, whose body was found in February behind a vacant building southeast of Austin. An autopsy showed she was seven months pregnant and had been shot three times in the head. The Statesman reports Clark also faces a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Austin media have reported that the Austin Police Department fired Clark in July for insubordination and neglect of duty. Clark’s lawyer has said his client did not deserve to be fired, had nothing to do with Dean’s death and that the trip to Indonesia was not an attempt to flee.
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.
Clark is accused of conspiring with others to orchestrate Dean’s death. The pair had an on-again, off-again relationship over a number of years and court records indicate Clark wanted Dean to have an abortion. Clark wanted to conceal the relationship because he had been dating another woman, records show.
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.
A search warrant affidavit unsealed in July contends that three other people conspired with Clark in the killing. The warrant indicates the group used prepaid cellphones to conceal their communications, the Statesman has reported, citing the warrant.
The three others are facing a variety of charges but only Clark has been charged with capital murder. Prosecutors have not indicated the motivation of the others involved.