David Allen (Jail photo)
GATESVILLE (April 21, 2012)—A trial date has been set for a former Gatesville preacher who is charged with capital murder in connection with his wife’s death in a house fire.
Fifty-second district court Judge Trent Farrell set David Allen trial for October 29.
Allen is being held in the Coryell County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.
Farrell also set a second trial date for Dec. 3 after defense attorneys said they also are involved in a capital murder case in Brazos County that could run into the October trial date.
Coryell County District Attorney David Castillo has not said if he plans to seek the death penalty in the Allen case.
The capital murder charge stems from the March 22, 2011 death of Allen’s former wife Paula in a house fire.
Allen was indicted in February, accused of setting the fire deliberately, using a flammable accelerant.
Paula Allen, 54, was found dead just inside the front door of a mobile home behind the New Life Church of Restoration just east of Gatesville.
The church has since changed its name.
David Allen also has remarried, according to records in the Coryell County Clerk's office where a marriage license was issued to David Allen and Megan Lynn Griffith, 27, also of Gatesville.
A clerk in the office said the license had been executed and returned for filing.
An initial autopsy report showed Paula Allen died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns.
David Allen was able to escape the flames that morning, but said he was overcome by smoke as he tried to rescue his wife.
He reported he was asleep in the living room and his wife was asleep in a bedroom when the fire broke out just after 1 a.m. on March 22, 2011.
Coryell County Justice of the Peace Coy Latham said earlier Allen reported that he awoke to the flames, jumped out of a living room window and ran around the mobile home to try to save his wife, who he said was in a back bedroom.
Gatesville Fire Chief Billy Vaden said firefighters tried to get into the back of the mobile home to find the woman, but the roof caved in before they could make entry.
David Allen did not require medical attention.
"We feel like the fire wasn't an accident early on, and felt something just wasn't right," said Paula Allen's daughters Miranda Waters and Malissa Casas.
"The man that we have known for almost 20 years, being arrested for our mother's murder hurts us deeply. Our question still remains, 'Why?'"