Family friend: VonTrey Clark is ‘running for his life’

Denise Hail, Kevin Leo Watson's mother

AUSTIN (KXAN) - The mother of one of the men police suspect is involved in a conspiracy to kill Samantha Dean says if former Austin Police Officer Vontrey Clark had a hand in her death, she wants to see justice.

“If [Von]Trey did it, whatever they do to him is not enough,” Denise Hail told KXAN from her home in Houston. “The Trey that I know, that I've known for 15 years, could not be capable of something this heinous. The Trey that I knew when I lived in Austin, he was just a sweet kid.”

VonTrey Clark/Austin police photo
VonTrey Clark/Austin police photo

Denise Hill says her son, Kevin Watson (she calls him by his middle name, Leo), met Clark in high school in Austin. It's a 15-year brotherly bond she says remains firm to this day.

“They looked a lot alike at the time and everybody thought they were brothers so they just called themselves brothers. Trey ate a lot of meals at our house."

Hill also tells KXAN News when Clark graduated Austin's Police Academy, her pride rose to a new level for a young man she saw as a second son.

"It was like, 'I got a police officer for a son!' so I was very, very proud."

Hail's son, Watson is one of several people named in affidavits connected to the murder investigation. She insists her son, now 31, could not have been involved "in something so heinous."



Watson's connection to the Dean case

Denise Hail says she first heard about her son's possible involvement in Dean's death this past spring.

“[I] never heard her name before until I looked it up myself on the internet. I started reading everything and I was like 'Wow!' I was blown away. I'm like these people [investigators] are crazy. They're going to let the real killer get away because they're totally going in the wrong direction," Hill says.

Court records show on the same day in February when Dean was found shot to death in Bastrop County, Watson was seen on surveillance video at a Wal-Mart in Southwest Houston buying a Verizon cellphone. Investigators allege that on the evening of Dean's death, she had been communicating with the person using that same phone and a location signal from that same phone would register in the area of the crime scene that evening, according to court documents.

On June 4, a Texas Ranger interviewed Aaron Williams regarding Dean’s homicide. Williams told detectives Kevin Watson, 31, told him Clark was looking “to pay someone $5,000 to kill Dean and her baby due to Dean wanting Clark to pay child support for the baby,” according to the warrant dated Aug. 12. Williams went onto say Watson told him he and Freddie Smith killed Dean for Clark and that Clark had driven Dean to the location in Bastrop County and the “murder had been set up to look like a drug deal,” continued in the warrant.

Kevin Watson (left) and Kyla Fisk are linked to Samantha Dean's death, according to court documents.
Kevin Watson (left) and Kyla Fisk are linked to Samantha Dean's death, according to court documents.

Police were able to link Williams, Watson, Watson’s girlfriend Kyla Fisk and Smith to the case from cellphone communication and surveillance video at various places where they purchased cellphones.

The warrant indicates between April 14-May 4, Clark, Watson, Fisk and Williams and other parties had conversations in which they discussed not talking to the police and distancing themselves from each other.

“Even if Trey would offer half a million, Leo [Watson] would not consider anything like that," she says.

Hail says the only way she sees Clark going to prison is if there is solid evidence to put him there. The same goes for her only son, a kid who got straight A's in high school -- a proud fact on display in the form of his report card housed in a frame on a wall at Hail’s home in Houston.

In 2004, Watson received probation for drug and weapons offenses. This spring, he was picked up in Harris County on a drug-related charge and remains locked up. Watson's mom does not equate April’s drug arrest to capital murder. At the same time, she insists Leo take what's coming if it turns out he played a part in Dean's death.

“If my son had anything to do with this girl's death in any kind of a way--even something small--then whatever the justice system deals him, what hand they deal him probably isn't going to be painful enough. I'm not going to love my son any less if something comes out that I can't face, but he needs to take his medicine.”

Watson’s girlfriend is charged with hiding evidence in the Dean case, specifically a hoodie Watson told her about during a recorded jail visit. The hoodie was one he told Fisk he was wearing the day of Dean's death, according to court records related to her arrest.

“Those kids have hearts. They have good hearts,” she says of all three of the men named in the various court documents.

Hail says while she never met Dean, her image runs through her mind all the time.

“I think about that girl way more than I should be thinking about her. I do not know her, but all I know is being a mom. I cannot imagine her having to live with somebody doing that to her daughter," says Hail. “I send her my prayers. I send her my love and I just stand in faith and believe God and know the truth will come out in this whole situation.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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