Three people were indicted by a special Spotsylvania County grand jury on first-degree murder and more than 80 other charges Monday in connection with the February slaying and dismemberment of 20-year-old Dylan Whetzel.
Whetzel’s remains were found Feb. 1 in trash bags off Pamunkey and Finney roads in western Spotsylvania. He had been shot in the head and killed prior to being dismembered with a Kobalt ax.
Bronwyn C. Meeks, 22; Domonic Samuels, 19; both of Spotsylvania; and Brennan E. Thomas, 19, of Woodbridge; are all already in jail on charges connected to Whetzel’s death. But until Monday, no one had been charged with murder.
All three were indicted on charges that include first-degree murder, murder by mob, abduction, strangulation, concealing a dead body, three counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, 12 counts of shooting during the commission of a felony and multiple counts of conspiracy.
Each suspect is charged with at least 27 offenses. Meeks is additionally facing four counts of soliciting others to act as accessories after the fact of murder and two counts of threatening witnesses in writing.
According to evidence presented at a preliminary hearing last month, authorities were alerted to Whetzel’s remains by Thomas’ grandfather, who said he saw his grandson and another young man leaving the woods that night.
In a 911 call played in court, the grandfather said Thomas told him he had shot someone after the victim came at him. After the younger men left, the grandfather walked into the woods and saw the bags.
He was clearly distraught during the phone call, at one point mentioning a bloody ax and saying, “Oh, my God. I’m just tripping out .... What the [expletive] did [Thomas] do?”
Special prosecutor David Sands also presented text messages between Meeks and Samuels that seemed to implicate them in the crime. Meeks and Samuels were dating at the time.
In one text, Meeks wrote “We are [expletive] because it was done so [expletive] wrong.”
Sands, who was called in as a special prosecutor because Meeks’ mother was part of the Spotsylvania detective division at the time of the slaying, also showed video of Samuels and Thomas purchasing an ax from the Southpoint Walmart.
Details about what led to Whetzel’s slaying have still not come out in court or in court records, most of which have been sealed. The three suspects apparently attended Massaponax High School together at some point, according to the evidence.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404