JP Pritchard

Grieving Mother, Child Testify In Sentencing Phase Of Tata Trial

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(AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Mayra Beltran, File)

Telling the jury she hoped all the hope a mother could hope for, Elias Castillo‘s mother Keisha Brown tearfully recalled the day her 16-month-old son, along with three other children, died in the February 2011 day care fire.

Brown painfully told the court she never thought her son would die as she helplessly watched doctors try and revive him at the hospital.

Brown earlier testified in the felony murder trial of Jessica Tata. She is now testifying in the punishment phase of the case.

Brown told the jury Elias was a happy-go-lucky kid who was always laughing and smiling.

Prosectors Steve Baldassano and Connie Spence spent the day trying to establish a pattern of Tata leaving the children alone at the day care.

Brighton Long, 7, took the witness stand and quietly answered questions from Spence, clutching a Raggedy Ann doll throughout her testimony.

Brighton recalled the time Tata took her and the older children to McDonald’s while the toddlers stayed behind in their cribs.

Another witness Sava testified he was considering having Tata watch his three children, but he changed his mind after he went to the day care and found 12 children unattended.

He said he knocked on the door and no one answered, but he heard children inside. He discovered the door was unlocked. He said went inside and found 12 kids, some crawling around the floor, all unsupervised.

The father says he was disturbed by what he saw, called police and they referred him to CPS.

And yet another witness, Martha parva, a former employee of Tata’s at the daycare, said one day Tata had dropped her and 10 children at a Baskin-Robbins and left them there for nearly three hours while Tata was getting a tire to the day care van fixed.

The prosecution has rested its case. Now Tata’s defense team takes its case to the jurors.



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