Mixed emotions after day care owner shows remorse

April 21, 2011 4:20:59 PM PDT
In an Eyewitness News exclusive jailhouse interview, the day care operator accused in the tragic deaths of four children spoke out for the first time.

We went around the world searching for Jessica Tata until she finally came out of hiding in Nigeria. Now we're hearing for the first time from her, from inside the Harris County Jail.

In our exclusive interview, Tata said she felt remorseful. But on Thursday, our legal analyst and some neighbors wonder where that remorse comes from.

Teddy bears still line the outside of the house where Tata once ran a home day care. It's a makeshift memorial to the four children who died and a neighborhood that will never been the same.

"We have to look at it every day, which is unfortunate. The memorial is still there," said neighbor Jeff DeShano.

He is reminded of the tragedy that changed so many lives. We showed DeShano our exclusive jailhouse interview with Tata where she said, "Sorry is not enough. You can only say sorry so many times."

DeShano has some sympathy.

"She didn't mean it for this to happen, I'm sure," he said.

Our KTRK legal consultant sees it as a ploy.

"This is actually a public relations stunt on her part. She's trying to endure herself to potential jurors. She's not talking about the facts of the case," said Joel Androphy.

Indeed, Tata did not address the details on the case, instead saying, "I'm doing well. I pray a lot."

Androphy says with Tata facing multiple charges and the possibility of spending the rest of her life behind bars, it's hard to discern the true motive behind her statements.

"She's trying to say, 'I'm not a monster. I made a terrible mistake. I can't explain the mistake I made, but I am asking for your forgiveness,'" Androphy said.

Because of what happened, both the state and the city of Houston are trying to make it tougher to get an at-home day care operating license.

On our Facebook page, we asked you what would you ask Jessica Tata if you had the chance? You can join the conversation anytime on the ABC13 KTRK Eyewitness News Facebook page.


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