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Attorney: Day care fire an accident, not murder

Associated Press
FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2012 file photo, Jessica Tata, accused in the deaths of four children at her west Houston daycare, stands at the conclusion of opening statements at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse, in Houston. A  refrigerator, not a stove, might be to blame for causing a fire at the Texas home day care that killed four children and injured three others, an engineering expert told jurors Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 during the owner's murder trial. Tata, 24, is charged with four counts of felony murder but is currently being tried in the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo. She faces up to life in prison if convicted. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle,  Mayra Beltran, File)
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FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2012 file photo, Jessica Tata, accused in the deaths of four children at her west Houston daycare, stands at the conclusion of opening statements at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse, in Houston. A refrigerator, not a stove, might be to blame for causing a fire at the Texas home day care that killed four children and injured three others, an engineering expert told jurors Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 during the owner's murder trial. Tata, 24, is charged with four counts of felony murder but is currently being tried in the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo. She faces up to life in prison if convicted. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Mayra Beltran, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — An attorney for a woman who is on trial after four children died in a fire at her Houston home day care says the blaze was a deadly accident, not an act of murder.

Closing arguments began Monday in the trial of Jessica Tata (TAH'-tah) on one of four counts of felony murder.

Prosecutors say Tata left the children home alone and with oil cooking on a stove burner while she went out to the store. Three children were also hurt in the blaze.

Defense attorney Mike DeGeurin argued that Tata should never have left the children, but that the fire could have been sparked by a malfunctioning refrigerator.

He says testimony that Tata remembered at the store that the stove was on could have been faulty memory.

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