12th Update: New Trial in Texas Wife-Killer Case Jan 6, 2017 12:34:44 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Jan 6, 2017 12:34:44 GMT -5
Texas Wife Killer Free on Bail Awaiting New Trial
HOUSTON – David Temple, a man convicted of murdering his wife in 2007, was officially released from prison December 28, 2016. His bond was set at $30,000.
In November, an appeals court ruled that Temple should get a new trial in the January 11, 1999, murder of his pregnant wife, Belinda Temple, who was eight months pregnant when she was shot in the back of the head with a shotgun, literally blowing away part of her head. The child she was carrying, whom she was going to name Erin, did not survive. The Temples’ son, Evan, was 3 when his mother was killed. The divided court ruled that important evidence had been withheld during the trial. The 20-gauge shotgun used to kill Belinda Temple has never been found.
Temple, a former Katy High School football star and Alief ISD football coach has always insisted he is innocent and the real killer is still “out there.” In a 48 Hours episode, Temple said, “Two angels left to go to heaven a long time ago and justice hadn’t been served one day for them yet.”
Former Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler, notorious for her attention-grabbing courtroom demonstrations, prosecuted the case. She theorized Temple killed his wife to be with his mistress, whom he later married. “Who is David Temple? He’s a man nobody ever said no to,” Siegler said during the trial. In 2015, a judge found 36 instances of prosecutorial misconduct. Siegler has thus far refused to comment except to deny any wrongdoing.
“David Temple is an innocent man. The timeline proves it. The evidence proves it,” insisted defense attorney Stan Schneider. The lawyer accuses Siegler of both intentionally withholding evidence and turning over evidence late, including crucial clues he believes point to a second possible suspect. “The first day of the murder, Riley Joe Sanders said, ‘I was at school all day and I never saw anything,’” Schneider declared. “To what later came out, ‘I was home, I skipped school by smoking dope.’” Sanders, 16, was a neighbor and one of Belinda’s students at Katy High. Defense attorneys theorize that Sanders was mad at Belinda for complaining to his parents about his frequent absences. Sanders, now married with a child, was never charged in the case and his attorney insists he’s innocent.
Crime writer Kathryn Casey disagrees. “That was actually all covered at the trial. I mean, the jury heard all of that,” she explained. “The suggestion that the appeals court makes is that had they had that evidence earlier they might have honed the argument differently and been more able to be effective in the defense.” Casey sat through the entire trial and wrote Shattered: The True Story of a Mother’s Love, a Husband’s Betrayal, and a Coldblooded Texas Murder, a book about the Temple case and its compelling twists and turns. “I don't know of any evidence that clears David at all,” she added.
But David Temple’s family claim there has never been any evidence that convicts him – no fingerprints, no forensics, no DNA. They are convinced the jury got it wrong the first time.
On Thursday, January 5, 2017, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said she would personally review thousands of pages of evidence and testimony in the case because of the controversy surrounding Kelly Siegler. The decision whether to seek a retrial or dismiss the murder case against Temple is in Ogg’s hands. “I will personally review the files,” she asserted. “There is no review team and the decision will be mine. This won’t be the practice in every case. This stands out because there have been so many accusations and such controversy about the trial prosecutor.”
Back in 1999, when it was revealed that David Temple was having an affair with a co-worker, Heather Scott, whom he later married, he became the prime suspect in a saga that led to his prosecution by the high-profile Siegler. He was ultimately convicted and sentenced to life in prison and Siegler later starred in a nationally televised show about cold cases.
At a news conference Wednesday, Schneider cited the epic file, which begins with a 1,400-page offense report and has been growing for more than 16 years. “It took me a month to read the offense report,” he claimed. “It took me another two weeks to read the grand jury testimony from 1999. And that’s just the start of the process.”
The archive of reports, trial testimony and exhibits is massive. It contains audio tapes and thousands of pages of notes, telephone records and other evidence in at least a dozen boxes that prosecutors cart around on an industrial four-wheeled dolly. The transcripts alone are dozens of volumes and there are at least 200 pages of appellate opinions on the case. “It’s a ton of stuff,” Schneider continued. “The writ hearing lasted 26 days. The original trial lasted 22 days, so there’s a lot of material that has to be digested.” Add to that the possible reports, notes or records of privileged information Ogg can access as the elected DA. Schneider said he thinks it will take her at least two months just to read all he information. “And then comes the hard part, she has to digest it all. She has to come to her own conclusions.” Schneider added that he and Temple are comfortable with Ogg taking the time to personally review the file. “If she’s comfortable with it, I’m comfortable with it,” he said.
The defense attorney suggested at his news conference that Ogg enlist the help of DA employees who have been involved in the case since 1999 and floated the names of three attorneys and an investigator. The suggestion was rejected by Ogg, who insisted the infamous case is too important to delegate. “It is the duty of a prosecutor to seek justice,” she said. “I have many responsibilities, but none more important than protecting the integrity of a criminal prosecution in Harris County.”
Sources: John Chapin, KHOU, December 28, 2016, and Brian Rogers, The Houston Chronicle, January 6, 2017.