Brazos County Prepares for KFC Murder Trial

By: Meredith Stancik Email
By: Meredith Stancik Email

It went unsolved for years, now one of Texas' most high-profile murder cases is headed to Brazos County.

Extra security will be needed, court supplies secured, and other logistical concerns still need to be ironed out.

Brazos County officials have set a meeting for Wednesday to discuss the trial tentatively set for September.

The county agreed to host the trial because it may need the same favor in the future.

"They (county officials) understand that we've been in the same predicament before and we're happy it's not us being in that predicament of having a high profile capital murder case having to be held away because you can't find enough people to sit on a jury," Brazos County District Clerk Marc Hamlin said.

The trial is being moved from Rusk County to Brazos County, because of extensive media coverage in East Texas.

Darnell Hartsfield, 46, is charged with the deaths of five people abducted from a Kilgore KFC in 1983. Hartsfield and his cousin Romeo Pinkerton are accused of killing them "execution style."

Pinkerton pleaded guilty to lesser charges in October, and received five life sentences.

Hartsfield is currently serving a life sentence for aggravated perjury in connection with the case.

Attorneys say they will not be seeking the death penalty.

The case went unsolved for two decades because of DNA technology not available until now. Authorities say Pinkerton's blood was found on a napkin at the scene. Blood from Hartsfield, who was arrested for aggravated robbery three days after the slayings, was found on a box of cash register tapes.

This isn't the first time Brazos County has hosted a high-profile murder case. In 1999, white supremacist Lawrence Russell Brewer was convicted of dragging a black man to death in Jasper.

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