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Two Indicted in 1983 Slayings in Texas

November 18, 2005

HENDERSON, Texas (AP) _ Two men were indicted Thursday on murder charges in the slayings of five people who were abducted from a fast food restaurant in East Texas more than two decades ago.

Darnell Hartsfield, 44, and Romeo Pinkerton, 47, were charged with capital murder in the shooting deaths of the victims, who were kidnapped from a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kilgore, about 115 miles east of Dallas.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office is prosecuting the case, said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty.

Hartsfield was convicted last month of aggravated perjury in relation to the murder case. He previously told a grand jury he had never been to the restaurant in Kilgore, but DNA evidence showed he was there the night of the killings, authorities said.

Hartsfield was sentenced to life in prison on the perjury conviction because of a long criminal record that included aggravated robbery and engaging in organized crime.

Pinkerton remains jailed after being arrested in Tyler in August on an outstanding warrant for a parole violation.

Abbott said the murder investigation remains open.

Victims David Maxwell, 20; Joey Johnson, 20; Monty Landers, 19; Mary Tyler, 37; and Opie Hughes, 38, were found in an oil field with gunshot wounds to the head.

Several law enforcement agencies investigated through the years. Authorities re-examined evidence, using DNA and other technology that was unavailable two decades ago, and uncovered new evidence, Abbott said.

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