August 27, 2014
HOUSTON (AP) - An engineering expert says a refrigerator, not a stove, might have caused the fire at a Texas home day care that killed four children and injured three others.
Defense witness Richard Bonyata is testifying Wednesday at the felony murder trial for day care owner Jessica Tata. Prosecutors allege the 2011 blaze at her day care in Houston began after oil in a pan ignited on a stovetop burner she had left on.
But Bonyata testified 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.
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