POSTED: Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 11:57am
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 - 12:43pm
The Texas Sixth Court of Appeals has upheld Darnell Hartsfield's conviction in the Kentucky Fried Chicken murders.
A Brazos County jury in October 2008 found Hartsfield guilty of the murders of five people kidnapped from a Kilgore Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1983. Hartsfield appealed the verdict, arguing prosecutors did not provide sufficient evidence for a jury to reasonably determine his guilt and that the court allowed inappropriate testimony about other criminal offenses during the trial.
The appellate judges ruled the physical and circumstantial evidence presented in the case were sufficient for a reasonable jury to decide Hartsfield's guilt, according to the appeals court opinion released Thursday. To convict him of capital murder, the judges said prosecutors did not have to prove Hartsfield shot the victims but that he was participating in an aggravated robbery when the murders occurred.
The judges also ruled the admission of prior criminal offenses as identifying evidence was valid because the crimes were similar. Prosecutors may introduce similar criminal offenses when the defendant argues another person committed the crime, they said.