|Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Philip Hilder quoted in Fort Worth Star-Telegram news article |
Murder trial to begin in fire deaths at Houston day-care center
|October 22, 2012 11:54 pm|
Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
HOUSTON -- The fire that killed four young children and seriously injured three others at a home day-care facility in Houston began when oil ignited inside a frying pan on a stove top burner that had been left on.
Attorneys for the day care's owner insist that she never meant to harm anyone. But legal experts say that if prosecutors can prove the deaths occurred because she abandoned the children to go shopping at a nearby Target, they don't need to prove intent to harm to secure a murder conviction that could send her to prison for life.
Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, said that while he doesn't think Tata intended to kill the children, that won't be the key issue at her trial. Under Texas law, a person can be convicted of felony murder if he or she committed an underlying felony, such as abandoning a child, and that action led to the death.
"It's going to be hard to find a legitimate reason to excuse the abandonment of these children," Hilder said.
© 2012 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
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