- Published: November 14, 2012
The top story the past few weeks for Houston local news stations has been the trial of Jessica Tata. The accused use to run a local daycare service out of her home. In Febraury 2011, Tata left a group of children unattended while she went shopping. Tata had left a pot of boiling oil stove, which started a house fire. Four of the children under her care died and three were seriously injured. On November 13th, 2012, the jury in the trial found her guilty of murder with the stove being considered a “deadly weapon.” The jury now is tasked with determining her sentence. But, what would cause someone to recklessly endanger a group of small children?
Jessica Tata did not testify in her own trial. She could potentially testify in the sentencing portion, but reporters speculate it to be unlikely. Tata could be choosing not to testify for an abundance of reasons. Could it be possible that she feel little to no remorse over what happened? A former Houston district attorney just revealed that Tata had a prior arson conviction as a minor. This offense, which was not mentioned on her application to run a home daycare, would have prevented her from receiving a license. Committing arson is one of the three childhood behaviors linked to psychopaths.
Is an arson conviction alone enough of a reason to call Jessica Tata a psychopath? Not really, but I believe the idea should be more closely examined. If she truly is a psychopath, it could potentially impact the sentencing. There is no treatment for psychopaths, so recidivism rates are high. Tata could then be faced with a sentence on the more extreme side of the spectrum. No matter the severity of the sentence, the families of the children involved in this horrible ordeal will forever be impacted by the tragic fire. This case will hopefully motivate the local government to more strictly review applications for daycare services and check for prior convictions.
1) "Witness: Day Care Owner Concealed Criminal History." USA Today. Gannett, 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/14/texas-day-care-owner-concealed-criminal-history/1705203>.
2) Rogers, Brian. "Jurors Convict Jessica Tata of Murder in Day Care Fire." Houston Chronicle. N.p., 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2012. <http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Jurors-convict-Jessica-Tata-of-murder-in-day-care-4032989.php>.