The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

January 21, 2014

Trial in Leonard triple murder set

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

— Prosecutors in Fannin County expect to try a man this summer on a charge of capital murder in connection with the murders of three people near Leonard two years ago.

A status hearing is scheduled January 30 in the 336th District Court in the case of Thomas L. Taunton, with jury selection currently set August 11. Taunton is facing charges of capital murder and murder in connection with the deaths of Harold Harpst, 73, his wife Sue Harpst, 79, and Regina Taunton, 48, in January 2012.

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 because his truck had broken down.

Taunton was indicted on the capital murder charge in April 2012.

Capital murder carries a maximum punishment upon conviction of either death by lethal injection or life in prison without the possibility of parole. Murder carries a maximum sentence upon conviction of from five to 99 years to life in prison.