HOUSTON – Belinda Temple was less than a month away from giving birth to her baby girl. But her life was cut short, and her daughter never had a chance.
Their deaths led to a heartbreaking end for the family, and the heartbreaker was Belinda’s husband, David Temple, a well-known coach in Alief Hastings ISD.
The horrific story would take 24 years and three criminal trials to bring Belinda’s family justice in the form of a life sentence in prison.
The story of David Temple is examined a way you’ve never seen before in this episode of the KPRC 2 Investigates true crime docuseries The Evidence Room.
A desperate call to 911
After taking the couple’s son to the park, David Temple claims he found his wife lifeless on January 11, 1999.
“Somebody had broken into my, and my wife has been shot,” Temple says to a 911 dispatcher.
Harris County Sergeant Mark Schmidt vividly remembers that night and the days after.
“I’ll never get rid of that, and the autopsy the next morning, I’ll never forget that,” Schmidt says. “That little girl was perfect. I mean, she was about to be born.”
Temple was found sitting on a bench in the backyard and told deputies that whoever killed his wife got in by breaking a back door window to get inside.
“I think one of the things that jumped out walking up to that back door was the glass,” Schmidt says. “The glass was going in the wrong direction. That was pretty obvious.”
The investigation continued to lead to unsettling revelations.
The family dog, Shaka, becomes a key piece of evidence
“The people that lived in that neighborhood, pretty much they were like, you don’t get near that fence when that dog is in the backyard,” says Schmidt. “Everyone that we spoke with, the dog, was very protective of her, of the family, [and] of his territory.”
The next set of clues was inside the home. Drawers were opened but not ransacked. A TV was pulled off the wall but remained plugged in. Jewelry and watches were undisturbed.
All of this, according to Schmidt, suggested a staged break-in.
“It wasn’t messy,” Schmidt says. “A burglar is going to ransack, [be] sloppy,”
Schmidt says after the murder the Temple family sent a letter claiming items were taken from the home. HCSO’s burglary division investigated and looked through pawn shops but never found the items the letter claimed were taken from the home.
Schmidt said the items listed in the letter were “non-descript.”
Who killed Belinda Temple?
He claimed their son was feeling better, so he took him to run errands and play at a park after Belinda got home.
“I think what kind of struck us as odd is that he’d go to a park that’s seven or eight miles from home,” says Schmidt.
Surveillance video on the day of Belinda’s murder shows Temple at Brookshire Bros. grocery store and Home Depot. Defense attorneys argued the time these videos captured Temple proved he didn’t have enough time to kill his wife and return home.
“How much time does it take to commit this offense and then stage what I believe, my opinion, stage this burglary?” says Sgt. Schmidt. “We’re not talking about something that took several minutes. This was very quickly staged.”
An acquaintance of David Temple reported seeing him driving in an area inconsistent with the route he gave investigators on the day of the murder. Temple promptly sought legal counsel and stopped cooperating with investigators, Schmidt said.
A secret affair revealed
As investigators struggled to establish the Temple’s alibi, an affair with a co-worker, Heather Scott, came to light.
“I had attended the autopsy that morning, and when I got back to the office, I got a phone call from an officer in Alief ISD,” says Schmidt. “He basically said, ‘Hey, I can’t confirm any of this at this point, but rumors [are] going around that he may be involved with somebody else.’”
Court testimony revealed Temple lied to Belinda about going on a hunting trip over the New Year’s Eve weekend so he could spend the time with Scott.
Over the weekend Scott professed her love for David Temple, according to Schmidt.
“Brenda had confided that she had conversations with Belinda, and Belinda was sharing her thoughts on David, and her thoughts were this, quote, so-called perfect marriage was not perfect at all, and she had suspected him of having an affair,” says Andy Kahan, the Director of Victim Services for Houston Crimestoppers.
“And then ten days later she’s murdered,” Kahan tells us. “Someone asked him at the funeral, ‘Well, don’t you want to know who killed your wife?’ And he responded, ‘Would it matter? She’s dead.’ That’s an actual quote.”
Kahan says Temple also sent Scott roses on Valentine’s Day, “a little over a month after your wife and unborn child are murdered.”
Two years later, Temple and Scott married. The marriage would last 18 years. In 2019, Scott divorced Temple during his retiral. Scott testified they never talked about the murder during their marriage.
The David Temple trials
A grand jury declined to indict Temple in 1999. The absence of a murder weapon and circumstantial evidence delayed his indictment until 2005. He was found guilty in 2007 of murdering Belinda and sentenced to life in prison.
In 2016, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Temple’s conviction due to evidence being withheld from the defense. The defense suggested that a neighbor, Riley Joe Sanders III, had access to his father’s shotgun and a grudge against Belinda. Defense attorneys claimed he had a vendetta because Belinda told his parents he was skipping school and about a party he threw when they were out of town.
“So you’re telling me a 16-year-old kid managed to elude an attack dog, go upstairs with a shotgun, shoot Belinda in the back of the head, and then leave without taking anything,” says Kahan. “Come on, none of that made a lick of sense.”
Sanders testified he had no involvement in Belinda’s death.
Schmidt said Sanders was investigated but they found no evidence linking him to the murder.
After Temple’s first conviction was overturned, The Harris County District Attorney’s Office recused itself from handling the case.
Special prosecutors with the Texas Attorney General’s Office reviewed the case and decided there was enough evidence to retry David Temple.
“There was no one else who had the means, David Temple, the motive, David Temple, and a desire to see Belinda Temple and his unborn daughter dead,” said Kahan. “It all led to David Temple.”
The case ultimately returned to the courts, leading to Temple’s second conviction in 2019.
The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision during the punishment phase and a mistrial was declared.
In April 2023, Temple was handed a life sentence during a new punishment trial, closing a harrowing chapter of mystery, betrayal, and tragedy.
Dive deep into gripping cases that once dominated headlines, immersing yourself in an up-close and personal experience with confession tapes, crime scene photographs, and the very murder weapons themselves by streaming past episodes of ‘The Evidence Room’ on demand here.
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