Punishment phase of Texas day care trial resumes

JUAN A. LOZANO
November 14, 2012
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Home day care operator Jessica Tata stands before her verdict at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Houston. Tata was convicted of murder in the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo, one of four children who died in a fire at her home day care after she left them alone with hot oil on the stove while she shopped at Target. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Johnny Hanson)

HOUSTON (AP) — Testimony has resumed in the sentencing of a Texas woman convicted of murder in the death of a child in a fire at her home day care.

Jessica Tata (TAH'-tah) faces up to life in prison after a jury convicted her of felony murder. Prosecutors continued to call witnesses Wednesday in a Houston court.

Testimony for the prosecution revealed Tuesday that Tata was convicted of at least one arson count because of her involvement in two fires — on the same day in 2002 — at her suburban Houston high school.

The fire at the day care the 24-year-old Tata ran in her Houston home killed 16-month-old Elias Castillo and three other children. Three more were seriously injured.

She is charged with three more counts of felony murder.