In February last year, daycare worker Jessica Tata left seven children, ages 16 months to 3 years alone in her home daycare facility. A fire broke out and four children died. Tata, 24, is on trial for four counts of felony murder, three counts of abandoning a child and two counts of reckless injury to a child.
Police say the fire was sparked by oil left on a stove-top burner. When Tata arrived back at the the home, there were two children outside, with the otheres trapped. Tata tried to save them but the smoke was suffocating.
KPRC reports new evidence shows surveillance footage shopping at Walmart alone before the fire and after the children were dropped off. Tata allegedly left the children more than once. One of those times was at the Walmart less than half an hour after the children were dropped off.
Three videos were shown in court Thursday. Tata’s defense also presented a video that she shot on her phone, in order to show that she loved the children and didn’t mean for them to die.
The Walmart employee, Brian Smith, who attended to Tata, told jurors that as the ex-daycare worker walked through the superstore, she took her time. Tata remained at Walmart for 5-10 minutes.
The other video shows Tata at Target, where she remained for 16 minutes. It was during that time that the fire broke out. Tata’s lawyer argues a murder charge is over the top because Tata tried to save the children, but the ex-daycare worker told police she was in the bathroom when the fire started.
After the fire, Tata, born in America but a Nigerian citizen, fled to Nigeria. She was captured soon after.
Click here to watch the store footage.