Jessica Tata enters not guilty plea in theft case

Jessica Tata, who's charged with four felony counts of murder for the deaths of four children in the home day care she ran, will be in court today on a theft charge.

October 14, 2011 1:47:04 PM PDT
The Houston day care owner facing murder charges after four children died at a fire in her establishment earlier this year has plead not guilty in an unrelated case.

Jessica Tata was in court Friday morning on a theft charge. She pleaded not guilty to the theft of food stamps between December 1, 2007 through February 28, 2011.

The mother of one child killed in the daycare fire, Elias Castillo, says she attends most of Tata's court appearances.

"My son's birthday is on the 16th and it's his week and I'm going to do everything I can," said Keisha Brown. "I like being in the loop. I don't like not knowing what's going on when it has to deal with my son."

As for the murder charges, Tata pleaded not guilty to those as well. She has previously pleaded not guilty to five other charges in connection with the fire at her west Houston day care in February that killed four toddlers -- Shomari Dickerson, Elias Castillo, Elizabeth Kajoh and Kendyll Stradford.

Tata was not in the home at the time the fire broke out.

Her first trial is scheduled to begin on January 23, 2012.