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December 26, 2012

Trial still pending in Leonard triple homicide

LEONARD — Prosecutors in Fannin County expect to try a man on a charge of capital murder next fall in connection with the murders earlier this year of three people near Leonard.

“The death penalty is still an option,” Fannin County District Attorney Richard Glaser said concerning the case against Thomas L. Taunton, who is accused of shooting Harold Harpst, 73, his wife Sue Harpst, 79, and Regina Taunton, 48 in January.

Autopsies showed all three victims died of gunshot wounds. They were later found in a field near Sherman, about 30 miles from their home.

Taunton was arrested after authorities found his pickup truck at a repair shop in Stonewall, La., where he had stopped there because his truck had broken down.

“We are still giving discovery,” Glaser said, noting that status hearings are still being conducted. “The next hearing, I think, is February 28.”

Taunton was indicted on the capital murder charge in April.

“We don’t anticipate going to trial on that until either October or November of next year,” Glaser said.

Capital murder carries a maximum punishment upon conviction of either death by lethal injection or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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