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Jim Guidry Commentaries
Harris County
Harris County District Attorney's Office
News Release
Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Felony Murder Indictments Returned for Daycare Operator

(Houston, Tx) Today a Harris County Grand Jury indicted former daycare operator Jessica Tata on four first degree charges of felony murder. Tata is charged with leaving seven toddlers home alone on February 24 when a fire broke out at her west Houston residence. The cause of the blaze was determined to be a pot of oil left on a lit burner.

Four children died as a result of the fire, and two more were seriously injured. Tata had previously been indicted in five additional cases in connection with the fire.

The range of punishment for the new indictments is from five years to life in prison if convicted.

Assistant District Attorney Carl Hobbs stated, "The grand jurors spent a great deal of time carefully evaluating the testimony and the evidence in these cases. I appreciate their thoroughness and hard work."

Due to statutory requirements governing grand jury proceedings, no further details about the grand jury's decision will be forthcoming.

Tata's arraignment on these charges is scheduled for July 8 in the 180th District Court.




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