FORT WORTH — After 41/2 days of deliberations, the jury in the sexual assault trial of Arlington pastor Terry Hornbuckle continued laboring through the afternoon, periodically sending out notes requesting additional information.
As of 5:15 p.m., jurors had sent out 14 notes related to evidence presented in the trial; five this morning and nine this afternoon. All but one of today’s notes concerned the accuser known only as “Jane Doe.”
State District Judge Scott Wisch said the jurors appeared to be getting along and were “calm, quiet, professional and methodic.” As for the long deliberations, he said, “We’re here as long as they want to work.”
The jury began deliberations on Aug. 15, considering three separate charges of sexual assault against Hornbuckle, 44, founder of Agape Christian Fellowship in southeast Arlington.
If convicted, he faces a sentence ranging from probation to 20 years in prison on each charge.
When deliberations ended for the week late Friday, the jury had sent out 20 notes related to trial testimony or evidence. That number grew to 34 Monday afternoon. By 5 p.m. Monday, the jury had spent a total of 27 hours in deliberations.
The judge, two prosecutors and two defense attorneys said they have never had a jury deliberate this long without indicating that they were deadlocked or having some major difficulty.
Three accusers testified against Hornbuckle. They were:
Krystal Buchanan, who said she was drugged and raped by Hornbuckle in a Euless apartment in July 2004.
Jane Doe, who said Hornbuckle used his position as her pastor to coerce her into having sex with him on at least five occasions in two months in 2003. Doe is a pseudonym.
Kate Jones, also a pseudonym, who accused Hornbuckle of drugging and raping her inside her apartment after the two smoked methamphetamine in the fall of 2004.
Defense attorneys Leon Haley and Mike Heiskell argued that, although their client was guilty of adultery and other sins, he wasn’t a rapist. They painted the women as troubled individuals who were motivated by greed and vindictiveness.
Prosecutors Betty Arvin and Sean Colston warned jurors not to be swayed by defense attorneys. They said that Hornbuckle isn’t just a sinner, he’s a criminal who deserves to be convicted on all charges.
In its 20 notes last week, the jury of nine women and three men was asking about testimony and evidence relating to Buchanan and Doe.
They asked to see: phone records; a list of prescription drugs found in Hornbuckle’s Cadillac Escalade; a photo of the apartment where one of his accusers said she was raped; a lease agreement for that apartment; and for the definitions of “rape” and “burden of proof.”
The testimony they wanted to review included: Jane Doe’s account of why she ended her relationship with Hornbuckle; what Buchanan’s mother said she discussed with Cowboys star Deion Sanders; and whether the lights were on during the alleged assault of Buchanan.
Today is the 11th day of the trial.
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