Trial set for Houston day care owner in fatal fire

Jessica Tata

HOUSTON - A judge has set a trial date for a woman charged with murder in the deaths of four children in a fire at her Houston home day care center last year.

Jury selection in the trial of Jessica Tata is set for Oct. 23.

The trial date was set during a brief court hearing Thursday in Houston. Tata was not present. The 23-year-old remains jailed.

Tata is first being tried for one of the four murder charges she faces. She also faces five other charges.

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 was captured a month later.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.