Closing Arguments Expected Tuesday in KFC Slayings Trial

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

BRYAN, Texas (AP) - Closing arguments in the trial of a man charged with killing five people abducted from an East Texas Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant 25 years ago are expected Tuesday.

The trial of Darnell Hartsfield was moved from the East Texas town of Henderson to Bryan because of publicity about the long-unresolved case.

Darnell Hartsfield faces life in prison if convicted of the five counts of capital murder. Prosecutors chose to not seek the death penalty in one of Texas' longest unresolved mass murders.

Attorneys for Hartsfield rested their case Monday after just one day.

Prosecutors in the first two weeks of testimony built a circumstantial case against Hartsfield, 47, to try to tie him to the abductions and murders. Hartsfield's cousin, Romeo Pinkerton, took a plea bargain a year ago midway through his own trial, agreeing to five life prison terms.

A witness testified Monday that he saw a white man speeding away the night of the abductions. James Rowe testified that he saw a van was carrying at least three people wearing KFC uniforms. He remembers the driver because the van and his station wagon nearly collided as it sped out.

On cross examination, prosecutors attempted to raise doubts about Rowe's story. They questioned why he waited over a year to go to police and why his testimony differed from the account he gave a grand jury in 2003.

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