Jury Process Starts in Pastor's Sex-Assault Trial

By Melody McDonald
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
July 28, 2006

FORT WORTH — Jury selection is scheduled to begin Friday morning in the trial of the Rev. Terry Hornbuckle, the charismatic minister who is accused of sexually assaulting five former members of his Arlington church.

Hornbuckle, 44, has been indicted on six charges of sexual assault, involving five women; a charge of possession of a controlled substance; a charge of tampering with a witness; and a charge of retaliation. He is expected to be tried on three of the sexual assault charges, involving three women, during his trial, which is expected to begin Wednesday morning in state District Judge Scott Wisch's court.

Each offense is a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison.

Hornbuckle, the leader of Agape Christian Fellowship, has denied all charges.

Twelve jurors and two alternates will be selected. On Thursday afternoon, 84 prospective jurors were questioned. Fifteen were excused for medical reasons or because they said they had been influenced by pre-trial publicity, among other reasons.

The remaining 69 potential jurors are to return today to be questioned individually by prosecutors and defense attorneys. All were told not to watch or read news reports about the case.

Prosecutors Sean Colston and Betty Arvin and defense attorneys Mike Heiskell and Leon Haley declined to comment, citing a gag order imposed by Wisch.

The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.


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