By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Jameton jumped back in the car, and he and McClellan drove to a motel in Palmer where they watched the news hoping to learn what information the police had on them. A few hours later, they headed for New Mexico, but not before detouring to Dallas to answer the phone call of a brother who was in trouble. On their way, the Dallas police would give chase, causing them to wreck near Loop 12, and once McClellan threw Jameton's gun out the window, they would surrender.
Earlier that same day, police had caught Williams on Lawson Road, after he had eluded them during a 30-minute car chase. Police arrested Edmonds near his home on Shepherd Lane where Mesquite police say Jameton prepared Clark's body for disposal. In all, a half-dozen members of the brotherhood were arrested, including their leader, Jason Hankins, whom police found on August 26 in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was later named in a federal indictment in New Mexico, alleging that he and 11 others, including Edmonds, had conspired to kill a police officer.
Despite their blood oaths and vows to never snitch on each other, Williams and Manuel confessed to participating in the murder of Breanna Taylor and implicated each other and Jameton and McClellan in the process. Jameton also confessed but later recanted, claiming a Dallas detective coerced him into a confession by threatening to prosecute McClellan for murder.
"They don't know what the fuck to believe," Jameton told me during one of our conversations. "I'm a liar. Only I know the real truth about what happened."
On a cold day in early December, I visited Dale Jameton for the last time. He was led to the visiting room by two burly guards, who were on high alert. During his stay in the Dallas County Jail, Jameton had already assaulted one guard, and there was no reason to believe he wouldn't do it again.
Once he was secured in the interview room, the guards took off his cuffs. He seemed in good spirits. As we talked, he passed me some court papers that he felt would help me tell his story, including Manuel's written confession of the Taylor killing. I filled in some of the blanks in his family history and got the phone number of an aunt who could put me in touch with his mother. When I later called the number, it was disconnected.
Two days before our conversation, he had pleaded guilty to both murders. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the murder charge against McClellan, who Jameton now claims as his common-law wife. I asked him why he did this; all of his co-defendants are taking their chances and going to trial.
"I could've taken it to trial, and I could've beat it," he said. "But I didn't want to take that chance of Jennifer going down." He ticked off the things she had done for him. Bonding him out of jail. Giving him a home. Saving his life when he wanted to go out with guns blazing. "What kind of person would I be if I let her ride on a fall?"
Besides, he said, she had something to live for: her kids. She received a 10-year sentence for the aggravated robbery of the two men Jameton said owed him money. The capital murder charge for Taylor's killing was reduced to aggravated assault, a charge that will also carry 10 years. The sentences will run concurrently. The way Jameton figures it, she's already done two years of back time in the Dallas County Jail. "Another year and a half and she'll be up for parole," he said. "Really, man, I'm just about as happy as I can be. I knew I wasn't coming home. Just to put her out there on the street, to see her kids and her grandmother again."
McClellan declined to comment for this story, as did Breanna Taylor's family. Police investigators said they were unaware of any family that Clark had. Courtland Ray Edmonds, through his mother, initially agreed to an interview and then declined. Several other defendants, including Hankins and Mann, mulled interview requests before ultimately declining.
Joe DeCorte, a private investigator who is assisting the district attorney in prosecuting these cases, told me that Jameton cut the deal not to save McClellan but to save himself. Jameton had implicated other Aryan Brotherhood members in his original confession to Mesquite police, said DeCorte, and now he was marked for death.
"That's bullshit, man," Jameton told me. "I told my homeboys what I said—they were pissed. I said, 'What can I do to fix it?' So I wrote another affidavit and cleared them all. I'm in good standing."
In one breath he spoke about his love for McClellan, in another he told me, "We would all kill for somebody."
I brought up the Taylor killing, a subject he had avoided during our two previous visits.
"That shit was messed up," he said. "I had nightmares about that shit."
He wouldn't say why she was killed but said it ripped him up the day he pleaded guilty to her murder and then had to listen to her parents as they each read from their victim's impact statement. "She didn't deserve to die," he said.