David Allen (Jail photo)
GATESVILLE (November 28, 2012)--The capital murder trial of a former Gatesville preacher has been put off while the judge gives prosecutors time to evaluate additional evidence.
Former pastor David Allen is charged with capital murder in the fiery death of his former wife in a mobile home blaze on March 22, 2011.
Judge Trent Farrell has ordered a scheduling hearing for Jan. 31, 2013, at which time he has told the state to provide an approximate date they'll be ready for trial.
New evidence and political issues have confused the issue in that current District Attorney David Castillo will be replaced by DA-elect Dusty Boyd on Jan. 1, 2013.
As well, Castillo asked for a continuance before Thanksgiving because his investigators said they needed time to evaluate new evidence they discovered on two cellular telephones that was associated with the fire that claimed Paula Allen's life.
Allen was set for trial on Dec. 3 in Farrell's 52nd District Court, attorneys on October 31 presented a motion for continuance to delay that start.
Farrell, after a hearing that lasted about an hour, said he would take the matter under advisement.
Attorneys from the West Texas Regional Public Defenders For Capital Cases, based in Lubbock, are defending Allen.
Prosecutors already said they will not seek the death penalty.
Allen remains in the Coryell County Jail in lieu of $700,000 bond.
He 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.
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.