By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
GATESVILLE - A former Gatesville pastor has been charged with capital murder in connection with the March arson-related death of his wife.
David Keith Allen, 49, was arrested Tuesday evening and arraigned early Wednesday by Coryell County Justice of the Peace Beverly Jones. Jones said Allen would be held without bail on the charge.
Allen's arrest comes after a grand jury indicted him Tuesday, said Chief Deputy Joe Blakley, with the Coryell County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's investigators and patrol 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 investigated the fire incident surrounding the death of Allen's wife, Paula Allen. 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.
Coryell County Justice of the Peace Coy Latham said in July that Paula Allen's full autopsy didn't determine whether her death was an accident, from natural causes, a suicide or a homicide. It indicated she died from thermal burns and smoke inhalation. Despite the inconclusive autopsy, the sheriff's office and state fire marshal's investigators continued to work leads in the case.
Blakley wouldn't release information about the sheriff's case suspecting Allen of capital murder, but he did say the blaze "had to be ruled arson or the grand jury couldn't have gotten the capital murder charge."
Information from the state fire marshal's office was not available by press time.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474.