Fifth co-defendant sentenced in Pamplin woman's murder

A fifth co-defendant in the July 17, 2018 murder case of a Pamplin woman was sentenced Thursday in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court and will spend five years in prison for her role in the coverup of the crime. 

According to the Spotsylvania County Circuit Court online record database, 35-year-old Laura Beth Denekas, of Mineral, was sentenced approximately seven months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to conceal a felony in the murder and dismemberment of 19-year-old Megan Lorraine Metzger. Sentencing had been continued twice in May.

Denekas was arrested on Feb. 7 on the charge after a grand jury returned a bill of indictment on Jan. 21 and a capias was ordered for her arrest. 

Four other co-defendants who were involved in the case were previously sentenced: David Weston Newton, of Stafford; Robert Keating of Stafford; Keelyn Rose Codynah, of Spotsylvania; and Juan Benavidez III, of Warsaw, all received prison time for their involvement.

Newton was sentenced in January to life with all but 40 years suspended, meaning that he will spend 40 years in prison with 59 years suspended. Newton shot and killed Metzger at Keating's home after a card found in Metzger's purse was mistaken for a police informant card. The sentence was the highest of the five co-defendants. 

Denekas's role in the coverup, according to reports, came when she traveled with Keating to the Washington, D.C. area to sell the firearm used in the murder, and later drove around with the other co-defendants looking for a pig farm where she said Metzger's remains could by buried. It was reported that Denekas said later that she did not know of such a farm after all. 

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