BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — The former Austin police officer charged in the death of Samantha Dean and her unborn baby pleaded not guilty to the charge of capital murder at his arraignment Wednesday morning.
VonTrey Clark, 32, was arraigned in Judge Carson Campbell’s court. At the request of Clark’s attorney Bristol Myers, the judge also 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. Clark sat in the courtroom wearing red and white striped jail clothing, his hair cut short and his hands secured in shackles.
Myers says prosecutors have handed over 91 documents so far as part of the ongoing discovery process. For their part, prosecutors on loan to the Bastrop County District Attorney’s Office from the Texas Attorney General’s Office told the judge they will fully comply with all defense requests for witness testimony and forensic reports. Prosecutors say they expect to call more than 100 witnesses during the expected trial.
Behind Clark sat Dean’s father, mother and sister as well as a number of friends and supporters from the Kyle Police Department, where Dean worked as a victim services counselor. Those supporters wore blue t-shirts emblazoned with Dean’s name and image.
Leaving the Bastrop County Courthouse, no one in the group said anything. As they approached their vehicles some, including Dean’s younger sister and family friends, exchanged long hugs and ‘thank yous’ before going their separate ways.
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 Dean was a long-time girlfriend and the baby she was carrying was his.
In late July, former officer Clark traveled to Indonesia for what his lawyer described as medical reasons. This was around the same time the Austin Police Department’s Internal Affairs investigators said they wanted to interview Clark. Authorities escorted Clark from Bali back to Bastrop County in September.
A pre-trial hearing is set for Feb. 24, 2016. 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 has yet to be indicted, authorities confirm to KXAN.