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Fifth person sentenced in connection with Pamplin woman's slaying

Fifth person sentenced in connection with Pamplin woman's slaying

Laura Beth Denekas


A Mineral woman on Tuesday became the fifth person to receive a prison term for participating in the 2018 slaying and dismemberment of 19-year-old Megan Metzger of Pamplin.

Laura Beth Denekas, 35, received the maximum sentence of five years in prison from Judge William Glover for her conspiracy conviction in Spotsylvania Circuit Court. She received an additional year to serve on an unrelated drug conviction.

Denekas’ conspiracy conviction stemmed from the July 17, 2018, slaying of Metzger at a home in Post Oak. Several people had gathered at the home of Robert Keating to use methamphetamines.

According to evidence previously presented by prosecutor Jeff Adams, David W. Newton of Spotsylvania shot and killed Metzger after rummaging through her purse and finding a card that he mistakenly thought identified her as a police informant.

The group later engaged in a coverup attempt that included severing her head, toes and fingers and discarding her body parts in two locations in King George County. Newton is serving a 40-year sentence, while Keating got 21 years for his role in the incident. The two who dismembered the body, Juan Benavidez III of King George and Keelyn R. Codynah, 25, of Spotsylvania, received active prison terms of 13 and 16 years, respectively.

Denekas had the least culpability in the coverup, according to the evidence. She accompanied Keating to Washington to sell the gun used in the murder for money that was used to purchase more drugs.

She also rode around with other codefendants looking for a pig farm she claimed to know about where the body parts could be disposed. She has since admitted that she knew of no such farm.

Adams said the drug conviction stemmed from an October 2017 incident in Spotsylvania during which she was found hiding in an attic during the execution of a search warrant. Police saw Denekas hiding drugs on her body as they were taking her into custody.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

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