Jessica and Samanata had met a handful of times and had once shared a kiss. But Sam had a boyfriend, Scott, who had already graduated. He knew about the kiss and they’d both put it down to harmless sexual experimentation. Sam had simply been curious – while Jessica was head over heels in love.
Samanata invited Jessica over to her flat for a home-cooked meal on 7 February 2014. Jessica excitedly saw the night as a date, and a text she sent another friend at 3am on the morning of the dinner showed she was feeling the pressure.
It said, “Tomorrow night is worrisome… I can’t stop this idea, it slowly creeped its way to consume my black heart. I want to… let someone else decide, but I’ve already etched it in history.”
When asked what the message meant Jessica replied saying it was “just nonsense”. Later Jessica would say the text referred to the possibility of sex with Samanata – but when the night unfolded, the words would seem far more ominous..
|Samantha and boyfriend|
Sam had cooked a meal, but it was clear the ‘date’ wasn’t as special to her.
After they ate, they had a whipped cream fight and built a fort out of blankets.
Jessica later said they’d ‘experimented sexually’, but she quickly realised Sam wasn’t serious and they started to argue. While Jessica had deep feelings for her friend, Sam said the night had simply been an experiment.
Rejected Jessica lashed out, calling Sam spoilt because her parents paid for her flat and her car. In a rage, she strangled Sam to death. There were also blunt force injuries on her head and body. Jessica stuffed Sam’s naked body into a sleeping bag, then dumped her in the back of her Mercedes car.
Back at home, Jessica wrote in her diary
: “What the hell is my future going to be? An eternity in prison? Death penalty?” On another page she scribbled “Gasoline – must be done tonight!”
Meanwhile, Sam was reported missing. While police started their search, Jessica went to her regular bible study class and admitted to a friend that she’d killed someone. “
Three days after her murder, Sam’s naked body was found in her abandoned Mercedes – along with a teddy bear and a scarf. There were claw marks and abrasions on Sam’s face and neck where she’d tried to fight for air.
Jessica and her friend Keifer were arrested the same day. The tale of the ‘date night that went wrong’ became salacious gossip around Virginia Tech campus, while Sam’s loved ones were distraught at the loss of such a talented young woman.
“I loved Sam – I couldn’t believe she would say that I was some experiment to her,” Jessica said on the stand. “It hit me where I was most hurt. I made the most horrible decision to cover it all up. I wish I had just called 911, but at that point it was too late.”