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Jessica Tata Day Care Trial: Defense expert says refrigerator may have caused fatal fire

Jessica Tata
AP Photo/The Harris County Sheriff's office

(CBS/AP) HOUSTON -  An engineering expert testifying at the felony murder trial of day care operator Jessica Tata says a refrigerator, not a stove, might have caused the fire at her Houston home day care that killed four children and injured three others.

Defense witness Richard Bonyata testified Wednesday in a Houston courtroom that evidence he reviewed suggests the stove was off at the time of the fire and that damage to the refrigerator suggests it could have been the source of the blaze.

Earlier, engineering expert David Reiter testified for prosecutors that the stove was on during the fire.

Prosecutors allege the 2011 blaze at Tata's day care facility began after oil in a pan ignited on a stovetop burner she had left on when she left the house.

Complete coverage of Jessica Tata on Crimesider

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