Trial Date For Ex-Central Texas Pastor Charged In Wife’s Fiery Death

By: Paul J. Gately Email
By: Paul J. Gately Email

GATESVILLE (January 31, 2013)--A state district judge Thursday set Nov. 18 as the trial date for former Gatesville pastor David Allen, who is charged with capital murder in the fiery death of his wife.

Judge Trent Farrell also set a pretrial hearing on the case for March 22.

Allen, 50, is charged with capital murder in the death of his wife who was killed in a mobile home fire on March 22, 2011.

Farrell said he understood that evidence still being developed plus having a new prosecutor in place would slow down the process, but "this is a little longer than the court anticipated, but it is in the agreement that both parties reached,"

Allen remains in the Coryell County Jail in lieu of $700,000 bond.

He was indicted in February 2012, 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.

On Nov. 28, 2012, former District Attorney David Castillo asked Farrell to set aside a trial date to allow the prosecution to further investigate some cellular telephone records that could shed more light on the case.

Boyd said Thursday the data from the cell phones has not yet been returned to his investigators so it has not been evaluated.

Farrell granted the motion for continuance on the cell phone issue and also because Boyd, who now is charged with prosecuting the case, only came into office on January 1 and needed time to familiarize himself with the issue.

Boyd said Thursday both he and defense attorneys will have an opportunity to discuss with Farrell when they might be ready to proceed to trial on the case, which has been set off twice previously.

Attorneys from the West Texas Regional Public Defenders For Capital Cases, based in Lubbock, are defending Allen.

Prosecutors already have said they will not seek the death penalty.

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.

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