HOUSTON – David Temple, the former high school football coach who was recently granted a new trial after being convicted of killing his pregnant wife 17 years ago, has been released from jail on bond.
Temple is a free man after nine years in prison. He was released just before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
He hugged his attorney, his parents and brother as he left the Harris County jail. He thanked those who believed in him, including his church family. He started to go after those he said “lied” and put him in prison.
His attorney said Temple will now spend time with his family. He is expected back in court next Wednesday.
Temple’s wife, Belinda, 30, was found shot to death at the couple’s home. She was eight months pregnant.
“Obviously this is an extremely emotional and devastating day,” said Andy Kahan, a victim’s advocate and spokesperson for Belinda Temple’s family. “They do understand the higher court’s ruling, however they also recognize the higher court never stated that Mr. Temple is innocent.”
During his 2007 trial, prosecutors argued that Temple killed his wife so that he could be with his mistress. The defense argued that a teenage neighbor, who admitted to burglarizing the couple’s home, was the real killer.
Ultimately, Temple was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
In 2014, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction, but Temple’s attorneys maintained that they could prove someone else was responsible for the crime.
In 2015, a Beaumont judge found there were 36 instances of prosecutorial misconduct by then-Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler.
In November, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that the method of disclosure used by the prosecution in David Temple’s trial did not satisfy the state’s duty under the Brady Rule. A violation of the rule, stemming from a U.S. Supreme Court case, is when prosecutors fail to disclose key evidence that is favorable to the defendant and could influence the outcome of a case.
The evidence in the Temple's case included phone records, according to his attorneys. They said those records will help prove his innocence.
After the November ruling by the appeals court, the defense said they hoped to have David Temple released from prison by Christmas.
KPRC 2 confirmed Wednesday that Temple was transferred from state prison to the Harris County Jail.
"I know there is a lot of emotion," said Stanley Schneider, an attorney representing David Temple. "No one really believed this was going to happen."
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has the option to appeal the court’s ruling, dismiss the case or retry it. In November, prosecutors did not have a comment about their plans.
The family is hoping the new Harris County district attorney decides to re-try the case, but Channel 2 Legal Analyst Brian Wice said that is not likely to happen. “I think on multiple levels she'll think twice about basically retrying a case that the state's highest court found was the result of prosecutorial misconduct,” Wice said. “Whatever people might think about David Temple, any citizen accused of any crime in this county is entitled to a fair trial and a reliable result.”