Charles Bryant Guilty in 2016 Murder of TWU Student Jacqueline Vandagriff

After 2.5 hours of deliberations Monday morning, a Tarrant County jury convicted Charles Bryant in the murder of 24-year-old Jacqueline Vandagriff in September 2016. Bryant, 30, killed Vandagriff before dismembering her and burning her remains in a kiddie pool he left at Acorn Woods Park near Lake Grapevine.

Bryant and Vandagriff met in a Denton bar on Sept. 13, 2016. After leaving the Public House, they headed to Shots and Crafts, another bar on Fry Street in Denton. At Shots and Crafts, surveillance cameras recorded Bryant and Vandagriff in conversation.

After finishing some drinks, the pair left the bar. No one but Bryant would see Vandagriff alive again.

At Bryant's trial, both sides conceded that he went to Walmart and bought a shovel early in the morning of Sept. 14, intent on burying Vandagriff's body. Both sides admitted that Bryant dismembered Vandagriff's body, but Bryant's defense team said he did so after Vandagriff's accidental death.

Vandagriff died, defense attorney Glynis McGinty told jurors during closing arguments Monday, of asphyxiation after Bryant placed a zip-tie around her neck during sex. It was an accident, McGinty said, and it caused Bryant to panic.

"None of the evidence lines up with murder," McGinty said, according to reporters in the courtroom. 

Prosecutors countered that there was no evidence that Bryant and Vandagriff ever had sex. Vandagriff, they said, had a brain injury from getting hit in the head, and it couldn't have come from smacking her head against the interior of Bryant's car during sex, as the defense contended.

Bryant's punishment hearing began immediately after the verdict Monday morning with testimony from a Grapevine Police Department officer who investigated the murder. Bryant faces up to life in prison for Vandagriff's murder.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young