Testimony Wraps In Day Care Fire Trial

Testimony has wrapped up in the trial of a Houston woman charged with murder after a deadly fire at her home day care.

Prosecutors allege Jessica Tata had left hot cooking oil heating on a stove at her west Houston day care center last year, leaving the children alone to go shopping at a Target. She returned to find the building in smoke.

The blaze killed four children and injured three others. The only defense witness — an engineering expert — testified that he believes the stove was off during the fire and a refrigerator could have caused the blaze. He also testified that the stove could have malfunctioned, telling jurors that a switch on that Electrolux range has a history of complaints including going from low to high and turning on by itself.

Prosecutors presented rebuttal witnesses, including an expert who said the stove was on and a state investigator who said Tata admitted leaving the pan on the stove. Closing arguments are set for Monday.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...