Jury to resume work Tuesday in day care fire trial

Associated Press Modified: November 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm •  Published: November 19, 2012
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"She called them her babies. She didn't want those babies to be harmed," DeGeurin said.

DeGeurin said Tata also mourns for the children who died and asked jurors to not decide on an excessive sentence.

"Don't let your emotions be whipped up. Don't let your anger be whipped up," he said.

Spence argued Tata was an irresponsible day care owner who had left the children she cared for alone on multiple occasions. The fire "wasn't an aberration, it was an inevitability," she said.

Tata fled to Nigeria after the fire but was captured after about a month, returned to the U.S. in March 2011 and has remained jailed since. She was born in the U.S. but has Nigerian citizenship.

Surveillance video shown during the trial showed her shopping at Target just before the fire. A former Target manager told jurors Tata did not seem to be in a hurry after realizing she had left the stovetop burner on.

Neighbors testified they heard the children crying as they tried to rescue them from the blaze. Parents of the children who died or were injured told jurors they had trusted Tata, believing she was qualified.

Defense attorneys presented expert testimony to argue that faulty kitchen equipment may have sparked the fire.

Tata still faces three more counts of felony murder in relation to the other children who died, and three counts of abandoning a child and two counts of reckless injury to a child in relation to the three who were hurt.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano at http://www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

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