• December 21, 2014

Arson, murder investigations grabbed headlines last year

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Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 11:51 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014.

Copperas Cove and Coryell County experienced several crimes throughout 2012, but among the most read and reported topics were a bank robbery, arson investigation and a homicide.

Darien P. Brodeaur homicide

After a one-day investigation for a July murder, a Kempner teen turned himself in to police and then pleaded guilty to a murder charge by November.

Cody Dion-Michael Parlato’s, 19, of Kempner, was sentenced to life in prison Nov. 19 after accepting a plea deal from now former Coryell County District Attorney David Castillo.

“It was a little surprising that he decided to plead this early in the process,” Castillo said in November after Parlato’s 52nd District Court sentencing took place.

Castillo only planned to offer Parlato the one deal before going to trial, and it included that Parlato would not face court costs or other court fines.

After 30 years, Parlato will be eligible for parole, which will be determined by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Parlato was arrested July 10 for killing Darien P. Brodeaur, 42, of Copperas Cove, who was in a wheelchair at the time of the incident.

At about 3:05 a.m. July 10, Copperas Cove police responded to the 2000 block of East U.S. Highway 190 where they looked into the window of Brodeaur’s apartment and saw him “laying lifeless” on the floor, according to Parlato’s arrest complaint.

Several witnesses came forward during the investigation and said Parlato was bragging about cutting Brodeaur’s throat, the complaint stated. They also reported that the two were fighting the night before the incident occurred.

Witnesses led police to a local park where Parlato attempted to bury the weapon used in the attack. Police were able to recover the knife.

On the same day of the incident, Parlato arrived at the police department and officers conducted a “felony takedown” arrest in the parking lot, Copperas Cove Police Department Spokesman Sgt. Kevin Keller said in July.

Arson murder arrest

A former Gatesville pastor is awaiting trial on a capital murder charge after the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest almost a year after a fire broke out in his home.

On Jan. 31, David Keith Allen, 49, was charged with capital murder in connection with the March 2011 arson-related death of his wife, Paula Allen.

A Coryell County grand jury indicted him on the same day of his arrest, Chief Deputy Joe Blakley said in February 2012. Sheriff’s department investigators and deputies detained Allen at his home without incident.

Allen is the former pastor of New Life Church of Restoration.

The sheriff’s office and the state fire marshal’s office investigated the fire in connection with the death of Paula Allen. Their investigation led to the grand jury’s indictment of David Allen.

At the time of the arrest, Blakley wouldn’t release details about the case, but said the blaze “had to be ruled arson or the grand jury couldn’t have gotten the capital murder charge.”

The March 22 blaze destroyed the couple’s double-wide trailer.

David Allen called 911 at 1:18 a.m. when he discovered his home ablaze on the New Life Church of Restoration property.

With emergency responders on the scene, Allen told firefighters he attempted to enter the home to save his wife but was overcome by smoke and flames. Firefighters first checked the bedroom, where he told them his wife should be located.

Firefighters broke through the wall of the home, but did not find her. Paula Allen was later found less than a foot from the front door under a portion of the collapsed roof.

The state fire marshal’s report of the incident alleged that an accelerant was used to start the fire in the living room of the home.

Suspected Cove bank robber caught

A 34-year-old Killeen resident was arrested in late October after being suspected of robbing a Copperas Cove bank in September.

John Russell Lightner is being held without bond by the U.S. Marshal’s Office and is awaiting a federal court trial on the criminal charge.

According to a police department news release, Lightner was arrested Oct. 22 by Killeen police during a traffic stop.

According to a U.S. District Court affidavit, police were given information about the location of a vehicle involved in the incident, and through surveillance efforts, officers allegedly identified Lightner as the driver of the vehicle.

After his arrest, Lightner reportedly confessed to robbing the bank so his girlfriend could pay her bills. Lightner allegedly entered the Fort Hood National Bank on Sept. 27, provided the teller with a note, brandished a handgun and demanded money from her, leaving the bank with more than $2,000, the release stated.

In November, Keller said because the incident involved a bank, the investigation was performed in conjunction with the FBI, and federal charges were filed. Lightner may face additional charges in Coryell County.

CCISD bomb threats

Classes at Copperas Cove Independent School District schools came to a halt after a series of bomb threats between Dec. 4 and 21 forced the district to cancel school for three days.

Eleven bomb threats at its high school and two junior high schools caused multiple evacuations, disrupting the school day and costing CCISD about $22,000 for each incident.

After being out of school Dec. 12-16, students retuned to increased security. Whether students will make up those days is unknown.

Nine juveniles were detained by police, and the incidents are under investigation.

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