Boyfriend charged with murder says he acted 'in the heat of passion'

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by WENDY CORONA & JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 6:52 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 19 at 7:16 PM

DECATUR — The boyfriend of a woman who vanished in early November was charged with murder after her body was found Sunday in north Decatur.

Randy and Jody McNorton were brought to their knees.

Their daughter, 28-year-old Samantha McNorton had last been seen on November 2 at the One Stop convenience store in Runaway Bay. Authorities said she left the store with her 29-year-old boyfriend, David Malone, of Bowie.

Her family now has a sense of closure.

“Right now, we need lots of prayers,” Jody said. “Thank God. It was all I was asking for.”

“I don't know where to go from here; I don't know what to do. She was everything,” said Paul Agnew, the father of McNorton's three young children who are ages 2, 4 and 6. He said he last spoke with her on Nov. 5. In a jailhouse interview, Malone told News 8 that was the night McNorton was killed.

From the Wise County Jail, Malone claimed to have acted "in the heat of passion" because he suspected McNorton was having an affair. He refused to discuss how she died during the interview. 

Agnew wore pink, McNorton's favorite color, as friends gathered in Decatur Sunday evening to pray for her and Malone.

"David Malone, we forgive you," said one person in the prayer circle.

Malone was arrested Thursday night on a sexual assault charge, and held in Parker County Jail. Investigators, however, would not reveal the identity of the victim. Malone was officially charged in McNorton's murder after he led police to where he allegedly buried her body, police said.

Malone's family was present at the Sunday evening vigil.

“It brings two families and a whole bunch of friends together where it's a real tragedy,” Randy McNorton said.

Hugs were holding the McNorton family up. Their only daughter gone, Randy McNorton had one parting wish for the group.

“I want you guys just to hug each other and pray.”

A missing persons report on McNorton wasn't filed until last Tuesday, November 13.

Jody McNorton said it was not uncommon for her daughter to be out of sight for a week at a time. That’s why the family delayed filing a missing persons report with Richland Hills police.

The search for Samantha McNorton began Thursday afternoon with deputies from Wise, Parker, Jack and Montague counties. There was also an aerial search.

Malone's criminal record extends over a decade, and includes misdemeanors and felonies.

On Sunday night, he was moved from Parker County Jail and is now in Wise County custody. His bail has been set at $2 million.

Agnew, meanwhile, is trying to think of how to tell his children their mother is dead. He says McNorton was a good mom who lived for her kids. 

E-mail wcorona@wfaa.com

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