Jury Sentences Woman Convicted In Deadly Texas Daycare Fire

Jessica Tata (File)

HOUSTON (November 20, 2012)— Jurors in Houston decided on an 80-year prison sentence Tuesday in the punishment phase of the trial of Jessica Tata, 24, who was convicted of murder in a deadly fire in her home daycare center.

Jurors deliberated for 5½ hours Monday and agreed on a sentence after resuming deliberations Tuesday morning.

Tata faced as much as life in prison after she was convicted last week of murder in the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo, whom she left at home with six other children while she went shopping.

A pan of oil on a stovetop burner fueled the blaze that broke out while she was gone.

A prosecutor told jurors Monday that Tata doomed the children when she left them alone to go shopping before a deadly fire broke out.

Prosecutor Connie Spence asked for a life sentence, saying the families of the children who died or were injured will never be the same.

Defense attorney Mike DeGeurin says Tata is a good person who made a terrible mistake and asked jurors to not be swayed by anger.