HOUSTON - Two new Harris County special prosecutors, Lisa Tanner and Bill Turner, were assigned Friday in David Temple's trial.
The previous prosecutors recused themselves from deciding the future of the case against the man, who was released from prison after he was convicted of killing his pregnant wife 17 years ago.
Temple spent nine years in prison after a jury convicted him in the 1999 shooting death of his wife, Belinda. After a lengthy appeals process, he was released from jail on bond in December while he awaits a new trial.
Temple appeared in a Harris County courtroom on May 5 as his attorneys met with the judge in chambers. Belinda Temple's brother was also in the courtroom.
Prosecutors filed a motion to recuse during the hearing, saying a person who investigated David Temple before the original trial is now part of the District Attorney's Office.
“It was plain as plain can be that this is the proper course of action,” said David Mitcham, chief of the DA's trial bureau.
The judge granted the motion and said a special prosecutor will be appointed to oversee the future of the case.
Temple’s attorney, Stanley Schneider, asked that the judge appoint a special prosecutor with no ties to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors argued during the 2007 trial that David Temple killed his wife so that he could be with his mistress.
A gang member testifying for the defense said a neighborhood teen admitted to the gang member that the teen had burglarized the Temple home. The defense suggested the teen could be the killer, but that teen denied on the witness stand he had ever burglarized the home.
David Temple was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
He has maintained his innocence.
"David Temple is innocent,” said well-known defense attorney Dick DeGuerin, who defended Temple during his murder trial.
He said the current district attorney made the right decision.
He told KPRC 2 that, "I don't think Kim Ogg would be unfair at all. I think that she was just being cautious. I have total confidence in Kim Ogg.
"That having been said, it's probably best that someone with has absolutely no ties to the D.A.'s office for the past decade or so take over the case. That means probably someone from out of town."
Tanner and Turner are both attorneys with the State Attorney General's office.
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