TAYLOR COUNTY—Nearly six months after entering a guilty plea for her part in a June 2017 murder, a Fairmont woman was sentenced in Taylor County Circuit Court on Wednesday afternoon.
Samantha Dakon, formerly Samantha Dakon-Clark, 31, was sentenced to 15 years for voluntary manslaughter, as well as five years for felony child neglect, for her actions during the June 23, 2017 shooting death of 39-year-old Grafton resident Frank Newbraugh.
The sentence handed down by Judge Alan D. Moats was the maximum possible for the two charges. It will be back-dated to July 28, 2017, when Dakon was first jailed.
She will remain behind bars for nearly four years before she will be eligible for parole.
In June 2017, Dakon, along with Justin Edward Clark, 29, of Fairmont, drove her 1997 Ford Expedition into Taylor County on the day of the shooting with the four children in the vehicle to meet Newbraugh to help the victim with narcotics.
During their time in the vehicle with the victim, there were several altercations, and Clark admitted to shooting Newbraugh to keep him from physically harming Dakon, although it is noted that the recollection of events from the night in question often differed between all involved.
Once shot, the victim’s body was pushed out of the car, which was carrying not only them, but four children. Newbraugh’s body was found later that evening, alongside Riverside Drive.
During the hearing, family members spoke on behalf of Dakon, saying that while she is not perfect, she has come to own her mistakes, and while jailed, she has found God.
“She would give you the shirt off of her back. She is a wonderful person and I think she deserves a second chance,” said one family member.
Her grandmother voiced that Dakon was her rock and that she has a big heart.
Dakon was given the chance to speak during the hearing.
“I stand here today with a heavy heart. I wish I can change that day and take the pain away,” she said. “There are no words or actions that can take away the shame and regret.”
Then came time for the family of Newbraugh to voice their opinion on the matter, and they told a different story.
“Her and Justin have shown no remorse for what they did. Since the beginning, they have tried to cover up what they had done,” said Carl Newbraugh. “We have been traumatized for life. They have disrupted and destroyed lives.”
Taylor County Prosecuting Attorney John Bord noted that it was not until the end did Dakon come forth and admit her actions.
“You can’t replace a life. We are asking for consecutive, maximum sentences,” he voiced.
Judge Moats revealed that the court had received many letters objecting to the plea agreement being made between the defendant and the state, but they accepted it for the children.
“I was accepted to keep the children from having to relive the nightmare,” he revealed.
Moats spoke to Dakon saying that her story always seemed to shift, even concerning where she received the gun.
“You say that your boss gave it to you for protection, but you are a felon and it is illegal for you to have a firearm,” he said. “Your story is inconsistent, and the stories from both you and your co-defendant are different from those of the children.”
He added that she might say she wishes she could change things, but the fact of the matter was she did not stop the killing from happening.
“Frank was shot and pushed out of the car and left to die,” Moats said. “Any reasonable, caring person would have stopped to try and save him. You did not. Instead, you fled.”
He recounted the events that occurred next, noting that she then went to a gas station to take drugs, bought cleaning supplies, discussed the disposing of the gun.
“You enlisted the aid of your boss and went to a landfill to dispose of it,” Moats revealed. “You said when you got home, Sheriff Austin was waiting, and you didn’t cooperate with him.”
He then noted that Dakon and Clark then got married to try to keep from having to testify against one another.
“I hope what you say is true and that when you get out you are going in a different direction in your life. What you did to Frank was final,” Moats voiced. “At some point, you’ll be released and can go back to your family. But for the Newbraugh family, they’ve lost their son, brother, uncle, cousin for all time.”
For her actions, Moats ordered that Dakon’s sentences would be held consecutively, meaning one would be served completely before the others would start.
Clark, who was originally charged with murder, agreed to enter a guilty plea to the lesser included offense of second-degree murder, which carries a potential determinant sentence of 10-40 years. He is still awaiting his sentencing.