LIMA — Jury selection in the death penalty trial of a man accused of killing two people and setting a fire to cover it up appears to be in the home stretch with opening statements expected early next week.
Hager Church is on trial on two counts of aggravated murder and one count of aggravated arson in the deaths of Massie “Tina” Flint, 45, and her boyfriend, Rex Hall, 54. He is accused of beating Flint and then starting a fire to cover it up that ultimately killed Hall. The incident happened June 14, 2009, in a house at 262 S. Pine St.
After opening statements, the prosecution will begin presenting evidence including testimony from witnesses. If Church is convicted, the case would move to the penalty phase where a jury would have to decide whether Church should receive the death penalty for the alleged crime. Life in prison is the alternative.
Church, 30, already is serving a life sentence with no chance for parole in another case which he killed a woman in 2010. He beat her to death inside her home for a few dollars and costume jewelry.