Jury to be chosen in fatal Texas day care fire

October 23, 2012 - 7:33 AM
Day Care Fire

FILE - In this March 23, 2012, file photo, former day care operator Jessica Tata leaves court after her arraignment in Houston. Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, in the trial of Tata, the Houston day care owner who fled to Nigeria after a February 2011 fire killed four young children and injured three others. She faces four felony murder charges as well as five other counts, including abandoning a child. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — Attorneys are preparing for a murder trial stemming from a fire at a Houston home day care center that left four children dead and injured three others.

Jury selection in the felony murder trial of Jessica Tata in the death of one of the children is set for Tuesday in Houston. Opening statements could begin Wednesday.

Tata faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say the 24-year-old left the children alone while she went to a nearby store. She left oil in a frying pan over a stove top burner that ignited the blaze while she was at the store.

Tata's attorneys say the murder charge is excessive because she never intended to harm the children.