College student’s death was kinky sex, not murder: attorney

A Texas college student whose body was found burned and dismembered in a park died accidentally during consensual “kinky” sex, an attorney claimed on Monday.

Attorney Glynis McGinty argued during her opening statement before a Tarrant County jury that her client, Charles Dean Bryant, 31, had panicked when he tried to bury Jacqueline Vandagriff, a 24-year-old Texas Woman’s University student whose charred remains were found at a park in September 2016, WFAA reports.

Bryant — who faces up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder — snapped after Vandagriff’s death and then bought a shovel during an early morning visit to Walmart to later bury her, McGinty said, claiming that Bryant is guilty only of tampering with evidence.

“He went to Walmart at 4 a.m. and bought a shovel and goes back to his house where he had left Jackie and tried to dig a hole, but the earth was too hard,” McGinty said, according to KDFW.

Prosecutors, however, painted a much different story, claiming that Vandagriff had just begun her college education and was on a “new path” at the public university in Denton.

“It was a good path until an evil, destructive figure, Charles Bryant, stepped into her path,” Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Lucas Allen said.

Police in Grapevine — where Vandagriff’s body was found in Acorn Woods Park — said after the brutal killing that they connected Bryant to the case after he and Vandagriff were caught on surveillance video inside bars in Denton.

Days after Vandagriff’s killing, Grapevine police Sgt. Robert Eberling called the brutal slaying the “worst-case scenario” for parents of young women, adding that authorities believe Bryant and Vandagriff met for the first time one day before her body was found.

“It’s something to remind all of us who have children: As often as you can, tell them that you love them,” Eberling told reporters.

Police also obtained surveillance footage of Bryant buying a shovel and cough medicine at a Walmart the following morning, WFAA reports.

Vandagriff’s cellphone was ultimately traced to Bryant’s home near Haslet, according to a police affidavit obtained by the Dallas Morning News. Her purse was also found in Bryant’s trash, according to the newspaper.

Bryant is also facing charges for allegedly stalking his teenage ex-girlfriend at the University of North Texas in September 2016 — just a week before he met Vandagriff. The teen told police she had previously seen a blue children’s pool in Bryant’s back yard, the same type in which Vandagriff’s body was found inside a park.

Bryant is also facing child pornography charges in connection to images and videos depicting children in sex acts found on his phone during an investigation into Vandagriff’s death, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Testimony in the trial resumes on Tuesday.

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