During the two-week trial, prosecutors presented about 30 witnesses, including neighbors who testified about hearing the children crying during their unsuccessful attempts to rescue them during the blaze. Parents of the children who died or were injured testified that they had trusted Tata, believing she was qualified.
On Friday, the judge and attorneys met for four hours to draft the jury instructions. The final instructions to the jury were complicated and about 30 pages long. They allowed jurors to consider finding Tata guilty on lesser charges, including second-degree felony child abandonment, state jail felony child abandonment, injury to a child and child endangerment. All of those charges would carry a lighter sentence than felony murder.
After the fire, Tata fled to Nigeria but was captured after about a month and returned to the U.S. in March 2011. She has remained jailed since then. Tata was born in the U.S. but has Nigerian citizenship. She was not charged with a crime at the time she left the country.