HOUSTON — A judge has recommended a new trial for a Houston-area man sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 slaying of his pregnant wife.
In a 19-page opinion filed Wednesday, state District Judge Larry Gist of Beaumont cited repeated misconduct by Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler as having tainted the fairness of David Mark Temple's 2007 trial.
"The defendant has shown he was denied a fair trial because of the state's failure to disclose or timely disclose favorable evidence. And had that evidence been disclosed or disclosed timely, the results of the trial would have been different," Gist wrote.
The opinion brings the former high school football coach a step closer to a new trial in the Jan. 11, 1999, shotgun slaying of Katy High School teacher Belinda Lucas Temple, who was eight months' pregnant at the time. It recommends that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which upheld Temple's conviction in 2013, grant him a new trial.
Temple's trial attorney, Dick DeGuerin, had argued Belinda Temple was killed when she interrupted a burglary at the couple's home suburban Houston home.
Prosecutors accused David Mark Temple of staging the crime and killing his wife because he was having an affair. Temple later married the woman he'd been seeing.
Gist noted that Siegler and DeGuerin "had a personal and contentious relationship and a professional battle of the highest degree." Also, Gist underscored a statement by Siegler at a December hearing on Temple's plea for a new trial, "that apparently favorable evidence did not need to be disclosed if the state did not believe it was true."
"I feel gratified the judge made the findings that he did, with the terrible misconduct of the handling of evidence before and during the trial," DeGuerin said. "I've always known that David Temple is innocent and was railroaded."
Siegler, who is now in private practice in Houston, did not return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment Wednesday. However, in the past, she has defended her handling of the case.