KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - It was one of the most infamous crimes to ever happen in East Texas. The 1983 robbery and murder of five people at the Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kilgore.
“There was a robbery that went bad,” prosecutor Lisa Tanner said. “They abducted the five people. They took them to the oil field and they executed them.”
Five people were shot in the back of the head. An oilfield worker discovered their bodies the next morning.
For more than 20 years, the case went unsolved. Then, in 2005, two men, who were already serving sentences in prison for other crimes, were charged with the murders.
Darnell Hartsfield and Romeo Pinkerton were both convicted in 2008.
“It was quite an event," Tanner said. "It had a lot of historical significance. A lot of East Texas significance. It’d take me days to tell you all about trying those cases.”
Tanner says one of the men convicted, Romeo Pinkerton, is now eligible for parole. Tanner says she along with the family and friends of the five victims will be pushing for Pinkerton to stay behind bars.
“Everyone knew this day would come,” Tanner said. “Texas didn’t have life without parole for anything until 2007. And the law has always been that the parole law that was in effect at the time of the crime in the law that governs.”
Pinkerton was last denied parole in June 2014. Reasons included his criminal history and the nature of the crime.
His possibility for parole will be decided in June.