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Crime News Snapped: Killer Couples

Former Beauty Queen Was “Ringleader" in “Gruesome” Texas Murder Involving Whole Family

When an accomplice to murder "crumbled like a rose petal in August and confessed," the deadly dynamics of Patricia Sexton and her Texas clan shocked police.

By Grace Jidoun

Patricia and Bobby Sexton’s marriage may have been doomed from the start. A deadly love triangle involving the pair would eventually ensnare family, co-workers, and lifelong friends in a tangled web of murder, as seen the latest episode of Snapped: Killer Couples, airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen,

Who are Patricia and Bobby Sexton?

How to Watch

Watch Snapped: Killer Couples on Oxygen Sundays at 6/5c and on Peacock. Catch up on the Oxygen App.

When Patricia met the much older Bobby in their hometown of Jacksonville, Texas, the “country boy at heart” was already married with teen children. But the two quickly “started sneaking around,” recalled Lisa Sexton, Patricia’s aunt, who introduced them, on Snapped: Killer Couples.

Patricia had a fondness for racing cars inspired by her family’s business of trading in junked cars for parts, which they ran from the “Bingham family compound,” a large sprawling property in the Texas countryside where she and her extended family lived.

Patricia Sexton and Michael Fielding featured on Snapped: Killer Couples episode 1716

“She loved to do the beauty pageants. She had God’s gift of beauty … very wild, very promiscuous,” recalled Brandi Bingham, her half-sister.

Bobby divorced his wife in 1991 when they discovered Patricia was pregnant with their first daughter, Chasidy. They then married and eventually welcomed two more daughters. Around this time, Bobby suffered a debilitating work injury while on the job at his father’s roofing business, requiring the placement of a metal rod in his back (which would later help police identify his body).

Patricia had her own health scare when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had a hysterectomy, preventing her from having more children.

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“Patricia said Bobby kind of resented her because she couldn’t give him a son, so he got physical. Every time he got mad, he would punch a wall,” alleged Brandi on Snapped.

By 1997, Bobby worked for Patricia’s grandfather in their mechanic shop at the family compound to help make ends meet, but more trouble was brewing on the horizon.

How was Bobby Sexton killed?

On Feb 21, 1998, a distraught Patricia called the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to report Bobby missing.

His badly decomposed body would eventually be found about a month later in brushy swampland in nearby Anderson County with a shotgun wound to his chest.

During the initial call, Patricia told police that Bobby’s co-worker and Bingham family friend Willy Wright urged him to come down to the mechanic’s shop on the family property around 11 p.m. one night, and that was the last time she ever saw him. But Bobby’s Chevy Suburban turned up two days later under very suspicious circumstances, raising eyebrows.

“Patricia actually called law enforcement to inform them that Al Clark had discovered Bobby’s vehicle on the side of the road and had driven it back to the house. Al Clark was in a common-law marriage with Patricia’s mom, Linda Gayle Bingham, and they were living on the property too,” journalist Casey Miller recalled.

Retired Sgt. Steven Suriano bristled at the memory of the Suburban on Snapped: Killer Couples.

“It was a gruesome scene. There was blood everywhere. There was two to three inches of blood in the wheel wells," he said.

Clark's checkered past included burglary and murder charges, making him the prime suspect. But though Clark had a shaky alibi, police determined there was no hard evidence against him, and he was later ruled out as a suspect.

They also talked to Wright, the last known person to see Bobby, and he confirmed Patricia’s story.

How was Patricia Sexton caught?

But ultimately, an unusual tipster pointed police in the direction of 29-year-old Michael Fielding, another “country boy” who worked at the Bingham family’s mechanic shop. It was Fielding's own mother.

As retired Lt. Suriano remembered, Fielding’s mother was “very curious about the disappearance,” but when she pressed her son about Bobby, “Michael blew up…  and then stormed out of the house.” Mrs. Fielding then called 911 because “she was afraid for her son.”

Another crucial tip came in for police, this time from an anonymous source: Fielding and another man, later determined to be Willy Wright, were spotted in Bobby’s Suburban the night he disappeared.

“Those were the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle for the investigators,” said defense attorney Jeffrey Clark.

As luck would have it, Wright was arrested for public intoxication on St. Patrick’s Day, giving the police a golden opportunity to question him in custody. When he learned that witnesses placed him in Bobby’s Suburban that night with Fielding, “he crumbled like a rose petal in August and confessed to all of this,” recalled Clark.

According to Wright, when Bobby arrived at the mechanic shop that night, Fielding jumped out from behind a car and shot Bobby in the chest with a shotgun in a premeditated plot.

“They had taken two vehicles so they could ditch Bobby’s Suburban, and then, ironically, Michael’s car ran out of gas. They got spooked, so they both jumped into Bobby’s vehicle and found the next bridge to dump the body," explained Casey Miller of the Dallas Observer. 

Wright led police to Bobby’s body, which Fielding allegedly threw over the bridge into a creek below, before abandoning the SUV nearby with the keys inside.

Wright also spilled details about the motive: Patricia and Fielding had been involved in an affair since November, meeting up in local motels. When Bobby discovered the affair in February, he followed his wife to a rendezvous and a fistfight with Fielding ensued. Bobby had filed for divorce and Patricia, fearing he would take her children away, swore to him that the affair was over.

“Bobby gave in and did go back, and that was just before the murder,” said Suriano.

Patricia not only denied the affair to police but insisted the bond with her husband had been stronger than ever — but police weren’t buying it.

However, Fielding ultimately confessed to the murder, but not before labeling Patricia and her grandmother, Dorothy Bingham, as the masterminds, from hatching the murder plan to cleaning up the crime scene (though Fielding said he didn’t witness that). He also claimed Dorothy gave him a box of rubber gloves to use in the murder and that she was present when he agreed to kill Bobby.

“Fielding said Patricia told him she didn’t want to be with Bobby anymore, she couldn’t take it anymore, but she couldn’t divorce him because he would get the kids," said Elmer Beckworth, Cherokee County District Attorney, on Snapped.

Investigators believe she also had her eyes on a disability claim with a large payout in the event of Bobby’s death. She allegedly threatened to end the affair with the lovestruck Fielding, if he didn't go through with the murder. 

More information soon came out from another unrelated arrest. Patricia’s mother, Linda, was arrested on narcotics charges around that time and wanted to strike a deal: She would reveal details about Patricia and Dorothy’s involvement in the murder if the police talked to the district attorney about lessening her charges.

They agreed, and Patricia and Dorothy were arrested in August 1998 and charged with the full force of the law: capital murder.

Ultimately, the jury returned a lesser verdict of murder against Patricia, and she was sentenced to life in prison, escaping the death penalty, in 1999.

When alleged murder accomplice Wright died in the months leading up to the trial, the police lost their key witness against Fielding, who plea-bargained for 35 years in prison.

In a separate trial, Patricia's grandmother, Dorothy, was found guilty of engaging in organized criminal activity and murder and served less than three years of a 30-year sentence due to a court of appeals finding insufficient corroborating evidence.

Though Patricia maintains her innocence to this day, Suriano told Snapped: Killer Couples he still considers her and her grandmother Dorothy the “ringleaders.”

Linda was the star witness against her mother and daughter during the trial.

“I’m not lying for nobody,” she told Snapped: Killer Couples. "My mother always said as long as everybody tells the truth, everything is gonna be all right. Exactly what everybody did, and it wasn’t all right.”

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