Suspect pleads guilty in Metzger murder; 2 others face trial

Megan Metzger was found dead in July 2018

Suspect pleads guilty in Metzger murder; 2 others face trial
Keelyn Codynah, Robert Keating, David Newton and Juan Benavidez III all face charges in the case. (Source: Rappahannock Regional Jail)

SPOTSYLVANIA, VA (WWBT) - A suspect in the death of 19-year-old Megan Metzger has pleaded guilty and another pleaded no contest to charges surrounding her death.

David Newton, one of four suspects charged in the crime and the only one charged with murder, has a jury trial scheduled for April 11-12.

Keelyn R. Codynah pleaded guilty to accessory to murder and Juan Benavidez III pleaded no contest to the same charge. Both will be sentenced May 9. Robert P. Keating faces an accessory to murder charge and has a jury trial scheduled for April 3.

Benavidez was set to have trial in Feb. 2019 for a single arson charge. He now faces charges for arson, destroying evidence of a felony offense, accessory to homicide after the fact, maliciously setting fire to wood and grass and destruction of property with intent. He now has a status hearing set for May 17.

He previously entered a no contest plea on the following charges in Spotsylvania County: Accessory to homicide after the fact, concealing or compounding a felony, defiling a dead body, concealing a dead body and grand larceny in an auto theft. He is set to be sentenced on May 9.

Metzger’s remains were found July 21, 2018, in King George County after she went missing in Spotsylvania County on July 17.

Megan Metzger
Megan Metzger

Court documents show two people arrested in connection with Metzger’s disappearance witnessed her murder, cleaned up the crime scene and disposed of the weapon.

The documents state Codynah helped remove Metzger’s body from the home and cleaned blood from the crime scene. Keating, the documents state, took the firearm used in the murder to Washington, DC, and disposed of it to help conceal the crime.

Newton’s involvement was not detailed in the documents earlier this year.

Court documents also show Codynah traveled to a Travelodge motel on the outskirts of Fredericksburg to pick up an item belonging to Metzger. That item is unknown.

According to time stamps on the document, Codynah picked the item up a little more than an hour before she was arrested by state police.

A woman who worked the overnight said she wasn't aware of a person by the name of Metzger staying at the motel.

After Metzger’s disappearance, police received information about a possible body being located in the Fairview Beach community of King George County. The human remains were found at various locations around the community.

Westmoreland County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Benavidez and charging him with arson. Investigators said he set Metzger’s car on fire and then took off into the woods to evade authorities.

The human remains discovered were located near Benavidez’s home, according to his address listed in court documents.

Virginia State Police said the vehicle arson is believed to be connected to the disappearance of Metzger.

Police said all five people were acquaintances.

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