On Sunday morning David W. Malone, 29, of Bowie, led investigators to a shallow grave containing the body of Samantha Jo McNorton, a 28-year-old woman and mother of three.The last time McNorton, a Sunset resident, was seen alive was with Malone on Nov. 5.
Malone was arrested Nov. 14 in Cooke County for a warrant out of Parker County. While confined in Parker County, Malone admitted to Texas Ranger Jim Holland he had murdered McNorton. The grave was hidden away in a rural, wooded area in the vicinity of Greenwood Road and County Road 2535.
“It was in really thick woods,” Wise County Sheriff David Walker said. “We had to cut through the briars and thickets.”
Wise County Sheriff’s officers and its crime scene unit worked with the Texas Ranger, a detective with the district attorney’s office and anthropologists from the University of North Texas to exhume the body of McNorton.
An arrest warrant affidavit read that Malone killed McNorton “by cutting and stabbing her with a knife and strangling her with his hands.”
“It was a violent murder,” Walker said. “There was definitely a struggle … Going off of phone records and other evidence, we think she was murdered on or about Nov. 5.”
Malone said the murder occurred on a dirt road off of Farm Road 920 in South Wise County. Afterward, he didn’t know what to do and just found a remote location he’d known since he was a kid.
“I grew up around there,” he said “I knew that place. And the reality of what I’d done just came to me. I had this girl, my girlfriend, that I loved back there – so I just found a spot. I didn’t know what to do.”
Malone has lived in Wise County most of his life, and he went to school in Decatur. He said he grew up in a country home off of Farm Road 730.He said he’d seen McNorton around at different places, but he’d only started dating her four months ago.
“I met her at the Alvord truck stop,” Malone said in an interview Tuesday afternoon in Wise County Jail. “She said she was getting a divorce from her husband. We kind of each did a double take. We were attracted to each other.
“Then one day I got off work, and I was driving down the road in Sunset. There she was standing on the porch. So I pulled over and started talking to her.
“That next day I came back by. And ever since then we never left each other’s side.”
On Sept. 10, McNorton posted an image of her and Malone kissing on her Facebook profile.
According to people close to McNorton, the couple had a tumultuous relationship. At one point she filed charges against him in Parker County for sexual assault. Malone denies the allegations.
“The sexual assault case is not true,” he said. “That’s not me.”
But Malone did admit to murder. He said he did it because he believed she was cheating on him.
“This whole deal was like a sudden passion thing,” Malone said. “This whole time she’d been cheating on me. She told me. She finally told me … Then I lost it. I lost it. I kind of had an out-of-body experience when I was there. Satan was there. He told me why I was here. He told me the reason why I had met her, because he wanted her. And so I just lost it.
“And after, I guess when she took her last breath, I turned around and I seen this figure, out of my peripheral vision. It was a dark shadowy figure standing there. And it just chilled me down to the bone, like it was actually Satan or the Grim Reaper standing there.
“I told her he was here. That’s when she passed all the way I think.
“There were no drinking or drugs involved,” he added. “It was a supernatural thing that occurred that night.”
Malone said he admitted to the crime because of his conscience.
“It was eating on me,” he said. “I wanted closure for the whole thing. I wanted closure. If I had it over to do again, I wouldn’t do that. I got kids myself. Now I can’t be there for them or anybody.
“That’s not right to do to anybody. If I had it over to do again, it wouldn’t be like this. I just have to beg for forgiveness. I know I definitely don’t want it to be the end of my life … I want people to know I have a lot of remorse for this situation. If I had it to do all over again, it would be different. I would do a better job of controlling my emotions.
“I’ve accepted the consequences so everybody can get closure on this.”
Malone’s bond was set at $2 million by Mandy Hopkins Hays, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace. He remains in Wise County Jail and is charged with murder, a first-degree felony. The charge carries a sentence of five to 99 years in prison or life.