Murder suspect David Wayne Bethel, 43, of Buffalo Springs pleaded guilty Tuesday afternoon. He agreed to a 40-year prison sentence with credit for time already served in jail.
The case started as a double murder in October of 2015.
The body of Jessica Ann Payton was found in a small body of water at County Road 3600 & East County Road 7300. Court records said her body was weighed down with cinder blocks. Shawn Summer’s body was found in a burning vehicle at East County Road 6700 (19th Street) near County Road 2800.
Court documents said Bethel plotted with his cousin, Mark Bethel, to murder both victims after it was revealed Summers might have had an intimate relationship with Payton who was Mark’s girlfriend.
David was only charged in Summers’ death. Mark was charged with both murders. Mark’s lawyer argued in court records over the last three and-a-half years that David confessed, and Mark maintained his innocence.
A judge lowered Mark’s bond, but the murder charge against him stayed on the books.
While in jail, David Bethel sued Lubbock County. He claimed that jailers did not provide him with proper treatment for congestive heart failure. That lawsuit was later thrown out because the filing fee was never paid.
David Bethel has been in the Lubbock County Detention Center since December 1, 2015.