Day care operator found guilty of murdering four kids
A jury found Jessica Tata guilty of murder for a 2011 fire that killed four children at her home day care.
November 13th, 2012
12:42 PM ET

Day care operator found guilty of murdering four kids

A jury in Houston has found Jessica Tata guilty of murder in the deaths of four children in a fire.

Tata's carelessness led to the fire at her home day care in 2011 and she then fled - with seven children trapped inside, evidence showed.  Three children were injured but survived.

CNN affiliate KTRK reports that Tata could face up to 99 years in prison.

After the fire in February last year, Tata fled to Nigeria.  The U.S. Marshals Service named her one of its most wanted fugitives.  The service said it worked "with international investigative resources in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to bring Tata to justice."

She was arrested in Nigeria and brought back in less than a month.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • Nigeria • Texas • U.S.
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. The Prophet

    no sympathy here by the GODS

    November 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Emily

    They have different customs in Nigeria. Maybe she was cooking lunch over a fire she built or something. As a progressive democrat I feel we should be more open to different cultures and points of view.

    November 13, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony


      November 13, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike from KC

      Emily, put down the crack pipe! Seriously. This woman is a coward and deserves the punishment she got, and then some.
      Leaving the children unsupervised with hot oil on the stove? She is not fit to watch anything, but maybe TV.

      November 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • logicalgirl

      I find your comments offensive as they are obviously an attempt to further drive a wedge between liberal and conservative or Democrat and other parties. I would say you are not anywhere close to a "progressive democrat" as the comments you make are not only ridiculously stupid, but obviously meant to pit Americans against each other by writing dumn**s comments and blaming them on another group.You are trying to start a fight and I ask myself why? Maybe you aren't really an American. Or maybe you desire to see our country fail. What ever the reason- crawl back into your hole.

      My Facts? Your comments have nothing to do with the article or case. 'People can have different cultural beliefs'. No one disputes that. Leaving children in a burning house is NOT a cultural belief. And what about this article would make you think that people in Nigeria all cook over an open fire? There are stoves in Nigeria too. You must be too stupid to read about other places. And different points of view are welcome. But not cowardly actions that end in the death of kids in your care. This is not a political story. Stop trying to create hatred.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      then she can move back to Nigeria if she wants to abuse and neglect kids. That is bull crap out here .

      November 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Timothy


    November 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • s kel

      No fool if it was bush in the house, he would have let this human garbage get away with it .like he did osama bin laden,. You repukes are sick lying clowns.

      November 13, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Counterpoint

    Another example of the failed policies of the Obama administration.

    November 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Troll la la.

      Serious, this is heinous...hope she gets 99 years to reflect on the fact that she killed four innocent children through her cowardice.

      November 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©


      November 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • logicalgirl

      Where do you people come from? Absolutely NOT a polictcal story, but you've made it into one. I am sick of seeing comments meant to drive a wedge between groups of Americans. If we do not work together, the nation will fall- regardless of who is in the WH. Stop with the stupid political rhetoric on every story.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. gablove

    It not her folt that the kids died,it could hapen to anybody.pls temper justice with mercy.

    November 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      It is absolutely her fault.
      Hope she gets the 99 years to reflect that her act of cowardice caused four innocent children to perish.

      November 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      Its every bit her fault those children died. She left 7 preschool age children alone in the house and went shopping. She was supposed to be babysitting them, not shopping. Worse yet, she left all those babies alone in that house with a big giant pan of boiling oil. She left those babies alone and when you do that, anything can happen, and the worst did happen.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
    • GM1953

      seems like they did temper justice with mercy. That's why she only got 80 years

      November 20, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sandrasweden


    November 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sandrasweden

    I don´t know the whole story here, but as someone working at a daycare for small children (in Sweden) I know I would have rather given MY OWN life trying to save those precious children trapped inside... In Sweden we practice 2 times per six months what to do and how to get every single child out of the building in case of sad that Innocent children died...breaks my heart...

    November 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      Sandra, what she did is just awful. Its a shame this story is so imcomplete. She left 7 pre-school age children alone in the house with a pot of boiling oil. She went shopping when she was supposed to be babysitting.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "stupid IS what stupid DOES"

    As your a what? Progressive democra? Thisb itch will probably walk like Zimmerman, Holmes. Amnesty.

    November 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "stupid IS what stupid DOES"

    Sooo, that's where hard working murderers go to, to dodge the law? Port Harcourt, Nigeria? NIGERIA? roflmao I'm STILL WAITING FOR MY $10,000,000 from the Bank of Nigeria, being held in confidence by the Director of the F.B.I.

    November 13, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "stupid IS what stupid DOES"

    The woman's a monster.

    November 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Portland tony

    She's just as guilty as someone who leaves a child in a hot car to die of heat exposure. She left a stove on and left the children unattended while running to the store for groceries. Unfortunately a fire. broke out and children died. This was not a malicious deliberate act, but one of careless irresponsible behavior. I'm sure she feels the burden of causing these children's deaths and injuries. Of course she will pay by being imprisoned for a long time!

    November 13, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nate

      I do feel incredibly sad for the children but she isn't a monster. She made a very terrible mistake. I agree she deserves prison time, but she is not a monster.

      November 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chrissy

    Unfortunately, you are probably right JF, but i hope she suffers l0 fold what those poor children suffered!

    November 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick

    Typical. Comes to america for the good life, then runs off to their country of origin when they get themselves into trouble.

    November 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ethan

    Now normally I would say death penalty but in this situation where it was unintentional I believe life WITH the possibility of parole is a good way to go.

    November 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Karen J Wise

    So Ethan...why should she be allowed parole, when the parents and families of those children who died will NEVER be free of the horror? They will have to live their lives with the agony of never seeing their children again.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
    • jakedog

      Exactly, I say burn her at the stake.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      The common response to a crime such as this is to ask why someone should be paroled when there is no escape for the victims. But the thing is, that's not, nor should it be how our justice system works. If that philosophy alone were used to determine sentencing, then any crime where someone ended up dead would result in the death penalty. eye for an eye right? But there are all sorts of variables and it doesn't benefit society to kill everyone who commits such a crime nor does it benefit society to lock them up indefinitely necessarily. Take this case, this woman is a coward, but I don't see from what little I know about this case that she intended for this to happen. I do not think she is a sociopath or a danger to society. She is not sick and depraved in the head she's just stupid. Tragically as a result of her stupidity people died. Not to defend her here but she likely didn't realize that she'd left the stove on when she left, but granted she did leave children unattended that she was responsible for. Should she ever be allowed to care for children again or anyone else? No. Of course not. Should she face severe consequences? Definitely. But should we lock people up indefinitely who pose no risk to society who's crime was an accident? I don't think so. Vengeance is the only thing that would compel us to do so.

      November 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
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