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Irving Weekly Title

Wichita County, Texas News

Cult Leader Sentenced to 42 Years for Child Abuse: Tarrant County Prosecutors Step In After Wichita County DA Recusal

ADA Estes and ADA Vassar providing thoughts on the case

Tarrant County prosecutors Bill Vassar and Davy Joe (D.J.) Estes have successfully secured a conviction in the case of 79-year-old Ronnie Killingsworth, a cult leader found guilty of six counts of indecency with a child in Wichita County. The crimes, which took place in the early 2000s, involved victims who were members of his congregation at Rephidim Church.

Killingsworth testifying

Following the recusal of the Wichita County District Attorney's Office from the case, Tarrant County prosecutors took charge, earning appreciation for their efforts. After a brief 45-minute deliberation, the jury found Killingsworth guilty.

"They have made a decisive decision and a statement that child molestation will not be tolerated in this county,” Prosecutor D.J. Estes said.

Opting for the jury to determine his punishment, Killingsworth was sentenced to 42 years in prison and ordered to pay $60,000 in fines on May 7, 2024.

Killingsworth won’t be eligible for parole until he is 21 years into his sentence, when he turns 100 years old.

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