A Waco judge has set a trial date for March 20 in a civil suit filed by George Roden against members of the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventists to determine ownership of 77 acres near Elk.

The land, once known as Rodenville but now called the New Mount Carmel Center, has been the center of dispute between the rival religious factions for at least 10 years.

Roden asked Judge Derwood Johnson of Waco’s 74th State District Court on Wednesday for a quick court setting to resolve the suit. Johnson also has scheduled a January 27 hearing on a motion from an attorney for the Branch Davidians who is asking Johnson to dismiss the lawsuit.

Members of the splinter group, who say they were forced from the land at gunpoint by Roden, reclaimed the land when Roden was sentenced to jail in March on federal and state contempt of court charges.

Roden, who was released Dec. 26, claims he is the rightful owner of the land and president of the religious association.

Roden was found in contempt of court for violating a 1979 court order forbidding him from living on the land. The Branch Davidians, who paid $62,000 in back taxes on the land after Roden was jailed, claimed ownership.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.