3 People Sentenced for Covering Up Grisly Death of Virginia Teen Who Was Dismembered and Burned

Robyn Merrett
3 People Sentenced for Covering Up Grisly Death of Virginia Teen Who Was Dismembered and Burned

Three convicted suspects have been sentenced to prison for covering up the grisly death of a Virginia teenager, who was dismembered and burned in 2018.

Keelyn Codynah, Robert Keating, Juan Benavidez II and David Newton were all charged with accessory to murder in 2018 after police made the gruesome discovery of 19-year-old Megan Metzger’s remains on July 21, a spokesperson for Virginia State Police tells PEOPLE.

On the night of July 18, 2018, the group of teens were hanging out together, using methamphetamine when Newton, 22, began to panic and accused Metzger of being a police informant, the Associated Press reported.

He then fatally shot her, according to court testimony from police and the other suspects, the Associated Press reported.

Next, Benavidez III, 20, and Codynah, 25, covered up the brutal murder by dismembering Metzger’s body before burning it. Afterwards, Benavidez III and Codynah buried Metzger’s remains in different locations in Fairview Beach. They later set her car on fire in Westmoreland County.

David Newton

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Keating, 27, was involved as the killing occurred at his home and he traded the murder weapon for drugs, the Associated Press reported.

Police later learned that the group hardly knew each other before the fatal night, local outlet The Free Lance–Star reported.

Benavidez told police that he went to the home to meet Newton about a potential job opportunity when all of a sudden everyone started using meth, according to the newspaper. Metzger had also been invited by Newton.

While their relationship remains unclear, Metzger met Newton at a mental health facility a few years back and the two reconnected on Facebook, according to court testimony, The Free Lance-Star reported.

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At some point during the night, Metzger and Newton left together. While they were out driving, Keating found a card in Metzger’s purse — back at the house — that he thought was a police card.

When Newton and Metzger returned to the home, Keating revealed his discovery to Newton. Newton then shot Metzger directly in the face, Benavidez told police, The Free Lance-Star reported.

Benavidez and Codynah told police they were ordered by Newton to get rid of the body and clean up the room. The room was so spotless that there was initially no evidence that a crime had even occurred, police said, The Free Lance-Star reported.

Megan Metzger

On July 19, Benavidez was arrested and took police to Metzger’s remains.

Attorneys for Keating, Benavidez and Codynah did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

An attorney for Newton could not immediately be found.

On Tuesday, Benavidez was sentenced to 13 years while Codynah has been sentenced to 16 years, The Free Lance-Star reported. They were convicted of charges, including defiling a dead body and being an accessory after the fact of murder.

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Keating has been sentenced to 21 years and Newton is already serving a 40-year prison sentence after he was convicted or first-degree murder, according to the newspaper.

Metzger’s mother Patricia was present at the sentencing hearing and said, “This is the worst horror you can ever imagine. You all deserve life,” The Free Lance-Star reported.