COPY-KFC murders jury to be seated Thursday

Associated Press - September 10, 2008 4:05 PM ET

BRYAN, Texas (AP) - Attorneys will choose a 12-member Brazos County jury and two alternates tomorrow to hear evidence against a second man charged in the notorious East Texas KFC murders.

Ninety potential jurors will be questioned in a state district court in Bryan.

Darnell Hartsfield of Tyler is accused of participating in the murders of 5 people abducted from a Kentucky Friend Chicken restaurant in Kilgore a quarter-century ago.

State District Court Judge Clay Gossett moved the trial from Henderson, Rusk County, to 150 miles to Bryan because of publicity surrounding the case. He says opening statements now set for Monday could be delayed for a day depending on the impact of Hurricane Ike. The storm is expected to make landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast this weekend.

The Hartsfield trial comes almost a year after his cousin, Romeo Pinkerton of Tyler, took a plea bargain midway through his own trial on five capital murder charges for the 1983 fatal shootings outside Kilgore.

If convicted, Hartsfield faces an automatic life prison term because prosecutors have said they won't seek the death penalty.

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