FORT WORTH – A Tarrant County jury on Monday sentenced Arlington pastor Terry Hornbuckle to 15 years in prison for the rapes of three young women, including two church members.
The jury of nine women and three men recommended 14 years in prison on the first count, 10 years on the second count and 15 years on the third count. But because the sentences will run concurrently, he effectively received a 15-year sentence.
Mr. Hornbuckle also received fines of $10,000 on each count, for a total of $30,000. He could have received up to 20 years in prison.
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The pastor could be eligible for parole in 7 1/2 years.
Mr. Hornbuckle’s wife, Renee Hornbuckle, who is now pastor of Agape Christian Fellowship, left the court along with a handful of supporters from the church before victim impact statements were delivered.
The mother of the first of Mr. Hornbuckle’s victims read her daughter’s statement as Mr. Hornbuckle stood and listened.
You have hurt me beyond belief,” the statement said. “My faith has been shattered. There are no words to describe what I go through every day. You have been my only pastor. You baptized me. You were my spiritual leader. You were the person who raped me. You took my virginity from me.”
The woman said in her statement that she wanted Mr. Hornbuckle to see the pain he had caused.
“Hornbuckle, you finally lost. This has been a long journey,” she said.
Mr. Hornbuckle’s third accuser, who said she met him at a gym, addressed him directly: “You should lower your head in shame,” she said. “You preyed on people you were supposed to protect. You temporarily destroyed my life. You stole what little trust I had in people.”
The second victim, who also was a member of Agape, did not address Mr. Hornbuckle.
In closing sentencing arguments to the jury last week, prosecutors said last week that Mr. Hornbuckle, the pastor of Agape Christian Fellowship, was a con man and predator who irreparably damaged the lives of the three women he was convicted of raping. Defense attorneys described their client as a drug addict who has bottomed out and deserved the jury’s compassion and a chance for rehabilitation.
Defense attorney Mike Heiskell said his client has done good work but fell because of the sickness of drug addiction. Authorities found methamphetamine in Mr. Hornbuckle’s Cadillac Escalade when he was arrested, and he tested positive for the drug twice while out on bail.
Jurors began deliberating just before 10 a.m. Thursday, more than three weeks after testimony began, and finished for the week just before 1 p.m. They resumed deliberations at 9 a.m. Monday after taking Friday off because of a juror’s family reunion. They announced they had a verdict about 4:15 p.m.
The jury deliberated more than 33 hours before finding Mr. Hornbuckle guilty last week on all three charges of sexual assault.
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