Judge: Contested evidence can be used in deadly day care fire trial of Jessica Tata

October 17, 2012 4:25:30 PM PDT
An attempt to suppress some evidence in the Jessica Tata murder case continued this morning. Tata goes on trial next week over a deadly fire at her day care in which four children were killed.

This hearing is sort of a housekeeping measure prior to trial and it will determine what the jury hears, and sees when Tata's trial gets underway.

Tata herself had a much different look today than we have seen, even as recently as Monday. She was wearing a wig and a suit. She sat quietly, took notes and barely lifted her eyes from that notepad.

The defense is trying to block certain pieces of evidence collected at the scene from being introduced in trial. Their argument is that arson investigators didn't have permission to conduct searches at the time those items were collected.

For instance, the discussion today centered around a receipt found in a Target shopping bag. Did investigators have the clearance to conduct a search of the bag and should the receipt be admitted into evidence.

Tata is charged with felony murder. Her in-home day care went up in flames in February 2011. Seven children were left unattended at her house and four of them died.

"You have to go in and the defense is going to force you to prove up each and every bit of evidence that the investigators seized because they have to prove obviously the results of their investigation and they have to go through it methodically and what they seized and what conclusions they drew," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

The judge late this afternoon ultimately decided that the contested evidence could be used by prosecutors during Tata's trial.

Trial starts next week on October 24.


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