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updated: 11/12/2012 9:59 AM

Houston day care fire trial to soon reach jury

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  • Jessica Tata, accused in the deaths of four children at her west Houston day care, stands at the conclusion of opening statements at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse, in Houston in October. Tata, 24, is charged with four counts of felony murder but is currently being tried in the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo. She faces up to life in prison if convicted.

      Jessica Tata, accused in the deaths of four children at her west Houston day care, stands at the conclusion of opening statements at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse, in Houston in October. Tata, 24, is charged with four counts of felony murder but is currently being tried in the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo. She faces up to life in prison if convicted.
    Associated Press File Photo

 
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- A jury in Houston will soon consider the fate of a woman charged with murder after four children died in a fire at her home day care in February 2011.

Closing arguments are scheduled Monday in the trial of Jessica Tata, who is charged in the death of toddler Elias Castillo. Testimony wrapped up Thursday. Tata did not take the stand.

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Prosecutors say Tata left the children home alone and with oil cooking on a stove burner while she went out to the store. Three children were hurt in the blaze.

Defense attorneys produced expert witnesses to testify that the fire may have been sparked by faulty kitchen equipment.

Tata is charged with four counts of felony murder.

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