A trial for a man accused of killing 19-year-old Megan Metzger before her body was mutilated last year has been delayed again.

David Weston Newton, 21, is charged with first-degree murder and other charges in connection with the July 17, 2018, slaying of Metzger in Spotsylvania. His trial in Spotsylvania Circuit Court was supposed to start July 17, exactly one year after Metzger’s slaying.

But in a meeting with prosecutors last week, defense attorney Alexander Raymond learned that one of the prosecution witnesses in Newton’s trial is a man he is representing on a pending drug distribution charge in Stafford County. That caused a conflict of interest that forced Judge Ricardo Rigual to remove Raymond from the case and appoint a new attorney for Newton.

Attorney Amy Harper, a former prosecutor in Spotsylvania, will take over as Newton’s lawyer. The trial will likely be delayed at least several months while Harper familiarizes herself with the case.

It was at least the second time that Newton’s trial has been postponed. A trial scheduled in April was delayed after Raymond requested to have Newton’s sanity evaluated.

Whenever Newton’s trial takes place, it is expected to last at least two days and will include scads of evidence, including police interviews with Newton and others, phone records and taped phone conversations from the Rappahannock Regional Jail, letters and a gun that was eventually recovered in Maryland.

According to evidence presented at previous hearings, Newton is accused of shooting the young Pamplin woman after a codefendant, Robert Keating, went through her purse and found a pretrial services card that he mistakenly thought was evidence that she was a police informant.

Metzger had driven to Keating’s home on Post Oak Road in Spotsylvania that week at the request of Newton. Most of the young people who had gathered at the home were doing drugs, according to testimony.

After Metzger was killed, a disjointed plan was hatched that included severing Metzger’s head and cutting off her fingers and toes. Parts of her remains were found a couple of days later in King George County, and some were in her vehicle that was set on fire in Westmoreland County.

Keating, Keelyn Codynah and Juan Benavides III have all pleaded guilty to various charges for their roles in the grisly post-murder cover-up attempt. All three are scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 6 in Spotsylvania.

In a letter filed in court records, Newton disputes the truthfulness of his codefendants who have fingered him as the killer. He wrote that “there have been many conjectures, conspiracies and lies spread throughout my case by my codefendants.”

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Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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