Suspect hangs self in jail cell

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, November 24, 2012

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A day after a jailhouse interview in which David Malone confessed to killing Samantha Jo McNorton, the 29-year-old Bowie resident was found hanging in his cell in the Wise County Jail.

David Malone

A jailer who was regularly checking on Malone saw him hanging from a bedsheet in his isolation cell around 9 p.m. Wednesday. Paramedics were called to the scene and found Malone unresponsive and not breathing. Medics performed CPR at the scene and on the way to Wise Regional Health System but were unable to revive him.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Mandy Hays.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker said jailers were checking on Malone every 30 minutes or less.

“When the jailer last walked by, Malone was talking on the telephone,” Walker said Thursday.

Seventeen minutes later the jailer looked inside the cell and saw Malone hanging from the sheet.

Walker said Malone had given no indication of suicidal tendencies. He said investigators reviewed the phone call placed by Malone minutes before he apparently hung himself but said he had given no indication he intended to kill himself. Walker said investigators are still trying to determine who all Malone talked to, but he did say it included at least one family member.

Malone’s body was sent to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

A Texas Ranger from the Garland office has been called to investigate Malone’s death. Walker said that because Texas Rangers Jim Holland and Tony Bradford were already working on the McNorton murder case, he wanted to bring in someone who did not already have ties to the case. Walker said the Ranger is reviewing audio and video tapes and will be back at the jail next week to interview jailers and officers.

As required by law, Walker said he has notified the Texas Jail Commission and the Attorney General’s office.

“We will look over everything after the Ranger does,” Walker said. “We don’t think there was anything that we could have done differently. We were checking on him even more frequently than 30 minutes.

“It’s tragic all the way around.”

Samantha McNorton

McNorton, 28, of Sunset was last seen alive Nov. 5 with Malone. Family members reported her missing Nov. 13.

Malone was arrested Thursday, Nov. 15, and booked into the Parker County Jail in Weatherford, charged with sexual assault and assault of a family or household member.

After law officers mounted a search for McNorton on Friday, Malone confessed to the murder and led investigators to her body on Sunday. She was buried in a shallow grave in a rural, wooded area in the area of Greenwood Road and County Road 2535 near Greenwood.

According to the arrest warrant, Malone killed McNorton “by cutting and stabbing her with a knife and strangling her with his hands.”

Investigators believe the murder took place on or about Nov. 5.

Malone was charged with murder and transferred to the Wise County Jail in Decatur.

In the interview Tuesday, Malone said he killed McNorton off of Farm Road 920 in South Wise County. He said he did it because he believed she was cheating on him.

Malone said he regretted his actions.

“If I had it over to do again, it wouldn’t be like this,” Malone said Tuesday. “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.”

A memorial service for McNorton is 11:30 a.m. today at First Baptist Church of Alvord. No service information for Malone was available at press time.

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