Witness: Day care owner concealed criminal history

Associated Press Modified: November 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm •  Published: November 14, 2012
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Tata "said she didn't care about hurting other people," Hayes said.

Jurors were also shown photographs of the burns suffered by two of three children who were injured but survived the fire. The photos were of 22-month-old DaJohn Ashley, who suffered burns on 22 percent of his body, and 2-year-old Makayla Dickerson, who suffered burns on 15 percent of her body; both children had to undergo multiple surgeries.

Other testimony Wednesday focused on claims by prosecution witnesses that Tata intimidated students and school administrators when she was in high school.

Sandra Wilson, an assistant principal at the high school where Tata enrolled after her arson case, testified that she had to discipline Tata several times, including once for forging grades.

"She had a presence about her that was very intimidating to other people," Wilson said.

Wilson said that after she disciplined Tata for the forged grades, Tata tried to follow her home one night from school.

"I didn't want her to know where I live ... I was shook up" by the incident, said Wilson, who added that Tata eventually stopped following her.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Thursday.

Tata was charged with four counts of felony murder along with charges of abandoning a child and reckless injury to a child. But but her trial was only for the murder count in connection to the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo.

During a break in testimony Wednesday, Elias' grandmother, Rossi Castillo, said she hopes Tata gets the maximum punishment.

"She deserves life in prison so she doesn't do any more harm," she said.

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



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