FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A jury of Teas convicted an accused on Monday of murder and sentenced him to lifetime imprisonment for the murder of a college student found disfigured, burned with her heart cut out.
Tarrant County jurors took less than three hours to find Charles Dean Bryant being guilty of murdering Jacqueline Vandagriff, after rejecting the defense attorney’s counter-argument that her client had panicked just after the woman had died during consensual sex. The jury members deliberately returned later on Monday before deciding the maximum punishment allowed by law for the murder of the 24-year-old Texas Woman’s University student.
31-year-old Bryant, 31, was also found guilty of altering the evidence and was pronounced to serve 20 years behind bars. The sentences is going to be served concurrently.
Defense attorney Glynis McGinty argued that the death of Vandagriff was accidental during sex with Bryant and it was censentual; a plastic tie was found around Vandagriff’s neck to hold her that caused asphyxiation. Prosecutors remained unmoved has they countered that there’s no apparent evidence the two had sex.
McGinty said Bryant did not commit a murder but a crime by panicking and disposing of the woman’s body in September 2016 and it should be dealt as such.
But prosecutor Lucas Allan told to the jury that on the contrary what defense believes, Bryant didn’t “freak out” because Vandagriff was dead. He purposely killed her and then dismembered her whole body during the process of cutting out her heart.
“Why cut out the heart? What does it have to do with disposing of a body? He cut her heart out,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Allan as told to the jury on Monday. “I want that image to sink in.”
Bryant and Vandagriff were seen together at a bar in Denton, later went to an other bar moments before leaving together. Vandagriff ‘s purse was discovered from the trash near Bryant’s home. Not only that, Bryant was not keeping quite a good profile as the investigation team came to know that his ex-girl friend had a protective order against the convict for allegedly stalking and harassing the lady after breakup.