HOUSTON (AP) — A state investigator has told jurors that a woman charged with murder after four children died in a blaze at her Houston home day care admitted that the fire began because she left a pan of oil cooking on the stove.
The testimony Thursday by Kristi Malrey of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services aims to counter defense expert statements suggesting the February 2011 fire could have been sparked by a faulty stove or refrigerator.
Malrey says Jessica Tata told her on the day of the tragedy that she left an oil-filled pan over a flame and that this caused the deadly fire. Three other children were hurt in the blaze.
Twenty-four-year-old Tata is charged with four counts of felony murder.
Defense attorneys rested their case earlier Thursday.