Judge: Receipt can be used in day care owner's trial

Jessica Tata charged with 4 counts of murder

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Jessica Tata

HOUSTON - A judge ruled Wednesday that a store receipt that allegedly places a woman away from a home when her day care caught fire can be used in her trial.

Jessica Tata has been charged with four counts of murder, three counts of abandoning a child and two counts of reckless injury to a child.

Authorities believe she left the children alone while she went shopping and the fire was ignited by a stove-top burner left on.

Shomari Dickerson, 3, Elizabeth Kojah, 20 months, Kendyll Stradford, 20 months, and Elias Castillo, 16 months, died in the fire at Jackie's Child Care on Crestpark at Waypark shortly before 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2011. Three other children were injured in the fire.

Tata fled to Nigeria, after the fire but before she was charged. She was captured a month later.

Tata's lawyers were trying to get evidence they said was taken without a court order thrown out before her trial starts next week.

The key piece of evidence the defense wanted to be ruled inadmissible is a receipt from a Target store that allegedly shows she was shopping at the same time her home day care caught fire.

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