Jury weighs punishment in daycare fire

Nov. 19, 2012 at 1:31 PM
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HOUSTON, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- A Houston jury weighing the punishment for Jessica Tata, convicted of felony murder in a child's death by fire, was shown a video of her with the children.

She faces five years to life in prison.

Tata was on trial only in the death of Elias Castillo, 16 months. Also killed in the daycare fire were 3-year-old Shomari Leon Dickerson, 20-month-old Kendyll Stradford and 19-month-old Elizabeth Kajoh, The Houston Chronicle reported.

In closing arguments Monday, defense and prosecution attorneys played a video taken Feb. 24, 2011, showing Tata interacting with the young children, the newspaper said.

The fire was started when a pot of oil Tata left on a burner caught fire while she left the children alone to go shopping.

Mike DeGeurin, Tata's lawyer, told the jury, "She didn't have a private, personal life except with those children," and took them everywhere, including church.

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