By: Julia Deng
MIDLAND - The neighbor of a man accused of killing his girlfriend and burying her body in a shallow grave outside their home is speaking out for the first time about the gruesome crime.
"We heard a gunshot," she said of the night Amanda Hankins, 26, was shot in the back of her head by boyfriend Brandin Conley, 21. "We didn't see [anything]... but it had to be what we heard. I can't believe this happened right here, straight across from my trailer."
Conley told investigators Hankins was enraged after finding a text message on his phone two weeks ago from another woman. She threw the phone at him, according to Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter, packed her clothes and attempted to leave their home on West County Road 53.
An anonymous caller later tipped the Sheriff's Office off about the whereabouts of her remains, Painter said. After her body was found in a shallow grave outside their home, Conley confessed he shot Hankins in the back of her head with a 9mm pistol.
"I think [Conley's] friend had something to do with it," their neighbor, who requested anonymity, told NewsWest 9. "He couldn't have moved the body by himself."
Conley is in custody on a $750,000 bond and is currently the only person charged in the shooting death.
"We're talking to different people [and] looking at different things," Painter said of the ongoing investigation. "[The autopsy] will have a lot to say about the cause of death and give us a better idea of what totally happened in the incident."
He said underestimating the threat of domestic violence may have played a role in Hankins' death.