A former Texas high school football coach is behind bars after being found guilty for a second time of the murder 20 years ago of his pregnant wife, whose death preceded his marrying a fellow teacher with whom he was having an affair.
David Temple was found guilty in 2007 of shooting Belinda Temple in the couple’s home and staging it to look like a burglary. He was sentenced to life in prison.
But after an appeal in which his attorneys successfully argued that prosecutorial misconduct delayed or withheld evidence in his favor, Temple was set free in 2016 after nine years — only to be brought to trial again in June on the same charge.
On Tuesday a jury in Harris County found him guilty once again, according to multiple media reports.
“Twenty and a half years — think about that. A little over two decades I’ve fought, behind the scenes, to get justice for Belinda,” said the victim’s brother, Brian Lucas, reports Houston TV station KPRC.
“Baby Belinda can finally rest,” he said.
Nearly eight months pregnant, Belinda Temple had just finished her day as a special-education teacher at Katy High School in Katy, Texas, and stopped by her in-laws’ home to pick up some soup along the way before heading home to husband David and 3-year-old son Evan, who had a fever, on Jan. 11, 1999.
Within an hour Belinda was dead — shot execution-style in her master bedroom closet in the couple’s Katy home. Although a cordless phone was found at her side, the 30-year-old didn’t have time to summon help for herself and her unborn daughter.
David’s defense alleged a break-in and claimed at both trials that he was innocent, reports the Houston Chronicle.
During David’s retrial, both the prosecution and defense acknowledged he had been sleeping with another woman — Heather Scott, a fellow teacher at the school where David coached, Alief Hastings High School, reports KHOU. He married her two years later, in 2001.
Authorities arrested and charged him for Belinda’s murder in 2004.
“There was only one person on this Earth who had the motive, the means and the opportunity to cause her death,” prosecutor Lisa Tanner told jurors, arguing that David wanted to kill Belinda in order to be with his mistress.
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Heather testified at both trials. But in a twist after staying by her husband’s side during his imprisonment and appeal, Heather filed for divorce as the second trial got under way.
Following the verdict, Heather’s attorney released a statement, saying, in part, “Please continue to respect the privacy of my client, Heather Temple, and her family, as this is a difficult time. Heather’s only concern right now is for her stepson Evan, and she has declined to provide any interviews currently and in the future,” according to KHOU.
Belinda’s brother Brian Lucas told the media after the second verdict: “The evidence was still there. It never changed. David was guilty from day one. The phone call I got that night, 10 minutes to 9 on Monday night, January 11, I said he was guilty then. Twenty and a half years later, David Temple is still guilty.”
His murder trial’s sentencing phase is now underway, with David once more facing the possibility of life in prison.