By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
They had shot out his tires, and for miles he had driven his truck on its rims. Now stalled on Interstate 45, just outside of Dallas, with helicopters hovering above and what seemed like a hundred squad cars surrounding him, Dale Clayton Jameton realized there was no way out.
He pulled a pistol from his waistband, turned to his girlfriend in the passenger seat and told her they wouldn't take him alive. "I love you," he told her. "Now get out of the truck."
Instead, she asked him for a hug. And as they embraced, for what he thought would be the last time, she took the gun from his hand and threw it out the window.
"I'm not going to let you die," she said.
Now more than a year later, Jameton is in prison, facing two capital murder charges and looking at life behind bars. Police say he and other members of a Texas-based cell of the Aryan Brotherhood killed Anthony Ormwell Clark and an unidentified female last August in the Mesquite area. Police found Clark's body floating in a pond in the Trinity River bottoms; it had been wrapped in a chain-link fence and weighed down with cinderblocks. But they have not yet found the body of the woman, who was strangled, doused with acid and then dumped in Lake Ray Hubbard in a plastic tub covered in cement.
Jameton admits to his involvement in both killings, but he says the stories of those crimes have not been told accurately in police affidavits, and he wants to set the record straight. His motive is as old as time: love.
"I did the murder," Jameton said recently from the Dallas County jail. "But my wife is innocent of all charges."
Jameton's wife is Jennifer Lee McClellan, one of seven people arrested in connection with the two homicides. McClellan is also in the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, and Jameton says he will do whatever it takes to get her out of jail, even if it means taking the fall for both murders. He says he has already told the district attorney that he is responsible for both killings, but prosecutors are delaying the start of the murder trial because they want Jameton to testify against his six co-defendants, who make up the leadership structure of a 20-member subgroup of the Aryan Brotherhood, a prison-based gang with some 15,000 members nationwide. A successful prosecution of all seven defendants would effectively cripple an organization that had brought a new level of violence to the sale and distribution of methamphetamine in the Mesquite area. The Dallas Country District Attorney's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The case comes at a time when law enforcement organizations across the nation are trying to crack down on the prison gang, which they say orders murders from within prison walls. In October, the FBI released a bulletin warning the Dallas Police Department that the leader of Jameton's group, 32-year-old Jason Hankins, had ordered Aryan Brotherhood members who had once worked as police informants to gather names of federal agents, state troopers and local police officers. Those names would then be put into a database and cross-referenced to find out where police officers lived, according to the alert. What the Aryan Brotherhood would do with that information is unclear. Hankins, who is one of Jameton's co-defendants, is also in the Dallas County jail.
Jameton insists the FBI is making up this report to put pressure on members of the group to turn on each other, but he will never testify against his co-defendants, he says. And because of that, he says, the district attorney's office is using his wife as leverage against him even though they have no evidence against her.
"They have no case," he says. "Only I know the real truth about what happened."
It all began last summer when Jameton was released from jail after serving six years on burglary and drug charges. Within weeks he had reunited with Hankins, the "general" of their Aryan Brotherhood subgroup. Hankins introduced Jameton to Anthony Ormwell Clark, whom he had met in a Tarrant County jail. Clark claimed to know Jameton, but Jameton didn't know what to make of the 43-year-old.
"He said he knew me personally when I was a kid. He put me in certain places, he knew names of my family, but I didn't know him from Adam," Jameton recalls.
Jameton wondered if Clark was a cop, or an informant, but he initially kept his suspicions to himself. He says Clark tried to become involved with the organization by claiming to be someone he wasn't. Once, for example, he claimed to own a strip club, but Jameton already knew the real owner. Eventually, Jameton says, Clark began to rub his far-flung network of associates the wrong way, and it began to affect business.
"He scared people away. They thought he was a cop. People that had known me for years split. I got calls from Washington and New York, I can't say who they were, but people I know, major players in the drug world, saying, 'What the fuck's going on?'