Tata Gets 80 Years

November 21, 2012


A woman convicted of murder in the 2011 deaths of four children in a fire at her Houston day care center was sentenced Tuesday morning to 80 years in prison.  Jessica Tata also was ordered to pay a fine of $10,000. She was silent as a judge read the sentence, which came from a jury but was confirmed by the judge.


She declined an opportunity to speak at the sentencing, which took place in a Houston courtroom.  Prosecutors said Tata's carelessness led to the February 2011 fire that killed the four children and injured three others at her home day care. She was convicted of felony murder last week.


Tata, then 22, left seven children unsupervised at her home day care while a pan of oil was on an activated stove, authorities said. The home was on fire when she returned, authorities said.


After the fire, Tata fled to Nigeria, and the U.S. Marshals Service named her one of its most wanted fugitives.

She was arrested in Nigeria in March 2011 and brought back to the United States. The Marshall Service said it worked "with international investigative resources in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to bring Tata to justice."