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Spotsy woman pleads guilty to killing, dismembering Stafford man

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Bronwyn Carleigh Meeks (copy2)

Meeks

A young Spotsylvania County woman pleaded guilty to more than 30 charges Friday for her role in the slaying and dismemberment of a 20-year-old Stafford County man last year.

Bronwyn C. Meeks, 22, was convicted of offenses that include first-degree murder, murder by mob, abduction, concealing and defiling a dead body and multiple counts of conspiracy and firearms-related offenses.

The charges stem from the slaying of Dylan D. Whetzel of Stafford, who was shot at least five times on Jan. 31, 2021. His remains were chopped up and discarded in rural Spotsylvania in four large trash bags.

Special prosecutor David Sands gave a lengthy recitation of the evidence Friday in Spotsylvania Circuit Court, but it remains unclear why Whetzel was targeted.

A sentencing date for Meeks will be set at a later date. Her plea agreement calls for her to receive an active sentence of between 16 and 54 years in prison.

Meeks had been scheduled for an arraignment Friday, but instead decided to take the plea agreement.

Her codefendants, Dominic Samuels, 19, and Brennan Thomas, also 19, had their trial dates set Friday. Samuels is scheduled for a five-day jury trial that would start on Aug. 15, while a multi-day trial for Thomas is set to begin Nov. 29.

Thomas’ attorney, Jim Ilijevich, tried Friday to get Thomas released on bond. Judge Ricardo Rigual soundly rejected that request.

According to Sands, Meeks and Samuels were drug dealers who were romantically involved. Thomas was a friend of Samuels and attended the same high school.

Sands referred to what sounded like a relatively minor conflict between Meeks and Whetzel in which Whetzel told her to stop selling drugs to one of his friends. That friend had overdosed on drugs he obtained from Meeks, but survived, the prosecutor said.

Sands, who meticulously went through a series of cellphone trackings, text messages and pictures that he said connected the group to the crimes, said Meeks was also upset about a pending drug test that she expected to fail. In one text, she told someone that if she was going back to jail, she was going to “make it worth my while.”

The prosecutor said that Meeks made arrangements to pick up Whetzel in North Stafford under the guise of going to a party. She and her codefendants drove Whetzel to a McDonald’s for what Meeks described in a text as his “last meal,” Sands said.

The group ended up in the area of Pamunkey and Finney roads in western Spotsylvania, where Sands said Whetzel was pulled out of the vehicle and shot repeatedly. Authorities allege that Samuels and Thomas later purchased a Cobalt ax that was used to dismember the body.

Police were alerted to the crime by Thomas’ grandfather, who called 911 after seeing the red Mustang Thomas was driving in the area and his grandson coming out of the woods. The grandfather said Thomas told him that someone had been shot.

The older man was clearly distraught during the 911 call, at one point saying, “Oh, my God! What the [expletive] did he do?”

Sands also read text messages attributed to Samuels and Meeks following the slaying. One text from Samuels read, “I’m a [expletive] up psychopath and you just saw it first hand.”

Meeks in one text expressed displeasure with how the slaying was carried out, writing, “We’re [expletive] because everything was done so [expletive] wrong.”

All three suspects have been in custody for the past year.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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