Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

In the News

November 20, 2012

Woman gets 80 years for deadly Texas day care fire

HOUSTON — It had been Jessica Tata's dream to run a day care.

She was soon in over her head, caring for too many kids and taking chances by leaving them alone to run errands. The young woman's actions ultimately proved fatal: Four children died and three others were injured when a fire broke out at her home day care after she had left them alone to go shopping at a nearby Target.

On Tuesday, jurors sentenced the 24-year-old woman to 80 years in prison for the death of one of the children, 16-month-old Elias Castillo. She still faces charges related to the rest of the children.

"Nobody wins in this situation," Elias' great-grandmother, Patty Sparks, said after the sentence was announced. "My heart goes out to the Tata family and those precious mothers and fathers who lost their babies."

Tata, who was only a few years removed from her teens when she started her day care, worked alone most of the time. Investigators said the February 2011 blaze happened when a pan of oil she had left cooking on the stove ignited while she was out shopping.

The same jury that decided her sentence had convicted Tata last week of one count of felony murder. The jury could have sentenced her to anywhere from five years to life in prison. Prosecutors had sought a life sentence, while defense attorneys asked only that jurors not give her an excessive sentence.

She will have to serve 30 years of her sentence before she is eligible for parole. Tata also was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine.

Jurors deliberated her punishment for seven hours over two days. The former day care owner had no visible reaction after the sentence was announced.

Tata's attorneys contended she was a good person who loved children but made a terrible mistake.

Text Only
In the News
  • Trial begins in case over Oklahoma City bombing

    The FBI has done a thorough search of its archives and found no evidence that more Oklahoma City bombing videos exist, federal attorneys told a judge on Monday during the first day of a trial that has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the devastating 1995 attack.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kendall Sanders.jpg Kendall Sanders charged with felony sexual assault, improper photography

    A University of Texas police spokeswoman says two Longhorns football players have been charged with felony sexual assault and their arrests are pending.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man gets 2nd death sentence in Dallas slaying

     A jury sentenced a Dallas man to death a second time Wednesday for the 1986 killing of a Dallas civil rights attorney and his wife.

    July 24, 2014

  • Texas woman sentenced to life in stepson's death

     A North Texas jury has sentenced a woman to life in prison for the 2011 starvation death of her 10-year-old stepson.

    July 23, 2014

  • Parsons Athens woman confesses to killing daughter

    Stacie Marie Parsons, 25, walked into the Athens Police Department at 8:46 a.m. Monday and confessed to killing her 4-year-old daughter.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • g000258000000000000f99cd4724578efa27c155fb3a1dcc7c68e3109e5.jpg Suspects sought in armed robberies in Corsicana

    Corsicana Police are looking for suspects in a pair of armed robberies the past week.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Feds: Texas voting maps deliberately discriminated

     The U.S. Justice Department told judges Monday that Texas lawmakers carefully crafted electoral maps marginalizing minority voters despite the state's exploding Hispanic population in a deliberate effort to racially discriminate and protect conservative incumbents.

    July 14, 2014

  • Four children among six dead in suburban Houston shooting

      A father opened fire at a suburban Houston home Wednesday, killing four of his children as well as two adults who were with them, and critically wounding his 15-year-old daughter, authorities said.

    July 10, 2014

  • Corsicana firefighter killed in one-car crash

     An off-duty Corsicana fireman was killed and his two young sons were injured in a one-car crash on FM 709 north of Dawson Tuesday night.

    An off-duty Corsicana fireman was killed and his two young sons were injured in a one-car crash on FM 709 north of Dawson Tuesday night.

    Justice of the Peace Jackie Freeland identified the deceased fireman as Louis Lachney, 46. He was a Lieutenant with the Corsicana Fire Department.

    The crash was reported at 11:27 p.m. Tuesday and occurred  at a sharp curve in the roadway on FM 709 about two miles north of State Highway 31 near Dawson.

    DPS Sgt. Thomas Moore, supervisor at the crash site, said Lachney’s convertible Mazda was traveling north on FM 709 and failed to negotiate a sharp curve, leaving the roadway and overturning several times.

    Moore said Lachney and his two sons who were passengers in the car were all ejected from the vehicle. Moore said the three were apparently not wearing seat belts.

    The two injured boys walked to the roadway following the crash where they were discovered by a passing motorist, who notified law enforcement of the crash.

    Moore said the two boys were transported by air ambulance to a Dallas hospital. He said they were in serious but stable condition when transported from the crash site.

    DPS Trooper LaTonya Daniels is investigating the crash. Corsicana EMS, volunteer firefighters, and Navarro County Sheriff's Office deputies assisted at the crash site. - See more at: http://www.corsicanadailysun.com/local/x611407136/Corsicana-firefighter-killed-in-one-car-crash#sthash.cKzZVvbj.dpuf

    July 9, 2014

  • RNC to be held in Cleveland

    A Republican National Committee panel is recommending Cleveland to host the party's 2016 presidential convention.

    July 8, 2014

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow