Belinda Temple was a young pregnant mother and a teacher at Katy high school in Texas when she was shot to death in 1999 inside her home’s closet.
Her husband, David Temple, a high school football coach in small town Katy, Texas, claimed it was a home invasion. Twice, he was convicted of Belinda’s murder. The case took a turn when it was revealed that Temple was having an affair with another teacher, Heather Scott, whom he later married (she filed for divorce in July 2019.) The murder of Belinda Temple will be featured on 20/20 on November 1, 2019.
In August 2019, he was convicted of murder again, but there was a mistrial in the punishment phase. According to KHOU-TV, Temple spent nine years in prison for a 2007 conviction in the death but his conviction was then tossed out because the judge “said prosecutor Kelly Siegler withheld favorable evidence from the defense.” He’s expected to be sentenced again in spring 2020.
The death scene was horrific. “Belinda’s body was found upstairs, laying face down in the master bedroom’s closet,” court records state.
“She had been shot in the back of the head, and the front of her face and brain were blown away.” A detective “testified that it appeared that Belinda had been kneeling when she was shot. All of the brain matter was low in the closet (i.e., on the first row of clothes). The hanging clothes near Belinda’s body had been pushed to the side at some point after Belinda was shot. Those clothes had a significant amount of blood and brain matter, and they appeared to have shielded the back wall of the closet.”
The autopsy showed, according to court records, that Belinda “had received a shotgun wound to the back of the head and that her skull had been fractured as a result. The exit wound was at Belinda’s right eye, and there was additional tearing across most of her face. There was no stippling around the entrance wound, but there was gunpowder residue or soot within the wound itself, as well as lead buckshot fragments. Consequently, Dr. Wolfe opined that the shotgun was fired while the end of the gun was touching or contacting Belinda’s head. He also stated that Belinda’s unborn child would have died quickly but not instantly.”
The experts had a difficult time determining a time of death. However, the coroner believed “that she died sometime the day before.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. At the Time of Belinda’s Death, David Temple Was a Teacher & Coach at a Local High School in Texas
According to an appellate court record in the case, David Temple and Belinda “met and married while they were students at Stephen F. Austin University.”
Later, they bought “a corner-lot home in the Cimmaron subdivision located south of I–10 in Katy, Texas,” which was near David’s childhood home. David Temple “worked as a teacher and coach at Alief Hastings High School, and Belinda was a teacher at Katy High School,” the court records say.
“At the time of Belinda’s death, their son Evan was approaching four years of age, and Belinda was eight months pregnant.”
The court records say that witnesses testified that the marriage between Belinda and Temple seemed “good,” “loving,” and “caring.” They were described by family and friends as a “compatible couple” in an “equal partnership.”
People also testified that they felt David was a good father to his son Evan and was so excited that Belinda was due to have a daughter that he helped prepare the nursery.
2. Some Witnesses Thought David Temple Had a Dark Side & It Was Later Revealed He Was Having an Affair With Heather Scott
According to the court records, not everyone thought the marriage between David Temple and Belinda was perfect. Belinda’s twin sister, Brenda Lucas, thought Temple was controlling.
He once made fun of Belinda’s “big butt” and they weren’t getting long during one recent Christmas. Quinton Harlan, a friend and fellow coach at Alief Hastings High School stated that he believed David Temple was controlling, volatile and “meticulous in his planning.”
His wife, Tammy stated that Belinda “was a strong-willed woman, but uncharacteristically submissive and meek” when she was around David Temple. David Temple was accused of criticizing Belinda for how she raised Evan and kept the house and called her fat and ugly and her family “crazy, white trash, fat.”
The court records state that after Belinda’s murder, authorities revealed that Heather Scott “might be a potential witness in the murder investigation. Testimony revealed that it was a poorly kept secret at Alief Hastings High School that (David Temple) was involved with Heather, another teacher at the school, and the detectives began investigating that lead.”
In the fall of 1998, the teachers and coaches of Alief Hastings High School “met each week for happy hour. (David Temple) testified that he attended four or five happy hours. Quinton Harlan, Appellant’s friend and fellow coach at Alief Hastings High School, testified that Appellant would chide him for not attending many of the happy hours.”
When Temple “socialized with the other coaches, (Temple) would think of stories for them to tell their wives about their whereabouts,” the records say.
“Early in the 1998–1999 school year, (Temple) and Quinton met Heather Scott. Both men began a flirtatious relationship with Heather and occasionally saw her after school,” the records say.
“Heather knew that both men were married. Quinton testified that he sent flirty e-mails to Heather and went to her house on four occasions. He stated that they kissed but did not have sex. Appellant testified that he went to several happy hours with Heather, and afterwards, he drove her home and kissed her goodnight.”
Quinton testified that in November 1998, David Temple “asked him to come over to his house. When he arrived, (Temple) got into Quinton’s truck, and they drove around the neighborhood and discussed their intentions with Heather. Quinton stated that (Temple) asked him if he would leave his wife for Heather, and Quinton responded, ‘No.’”
But Temple said “I don’t know” when Quinton asked whether Temple would leave Belinda for Heather. Heather’s roommate testified that Temple and Heather started seeing more of each other around Christmas and Temple “gave Heather several gifts including flowers and perfume as well as a simple gold necklace for Christmas.” She said he was “very polite” and affectionate to Heather Scott.
Heather invited Temple to a New Year’s Eve Party at her townhouse and Temple stated to Belinda that he was going on a hunting trip with friends. However, he spent two nights with Heather Scott instead.
Heather and Tara Hall each gave statements to police. She stated first that she had seen Temple occasionally for three months and would see him at happy hour but denied dating him and said the relationship was “casual and romantic.” She had a discussion with Temple about “not continuing their romantic relationship.”
In a second statement, Heather stated that Temple spent the weekend with her and they had sex. She also added that on January 8, 1999, Temple “told Heather that he loved her and that she responded that she felt the same way.”
Testimony revealed that Temple and “Heather engaged in sexual intercourse together on at least two or three occasions” and Temple “testified that their relationship was casual and romantic, but he denied having told Heather that he loved her.”
The court records added that Temple “resumed his relationship with Heather Scott shortly after Belinda’s murder. Heather’s roommate, Tara Hall, testified that Heather received flowers from Appellant on Valentine’s Day of 1999. Heather testified that she and Appellant began seeing each other again in March of 1999.”
Hall stated that Temple “visited Heather several times that spring, and that he and Heather planted flowers on the patio. Natalie Scott, Appellant’s neighbor, testified that she saw Appellant at a steakhouse in September 1999, and he had his arm around a thin, blonde woman in a red dress.”
Kenneth Temple testified that, a”bout six months after Belinda’s death, he learned that his son was dating Heather. Appellant’s brother, Kevin, and sister-in-law testified that they were very upset when they learned Appellant was dating Heather and did not speak to him for several months. Appellant and Heather became engaged in January of 2001 and married on June 9, 2001.”
3. David Temple Took the Couple’s Son to a Park Before Discovering His Wife’s Body
On Monday, January 11, 1999, according to the court records, Belinda was at work “when she was informed that Evan was running a fever at day care.” She picked up her son and took him home. At 12:30 p.m., David came home to watch Evan so that Belinda could return to school for a meeting that lasted through the afternoon.
After leaving school, “Belinda stopped by the home of Appellant’s parents to pick up some homemade soup. At 3:32 p.m., Belinda made a cellular telephone call to Appellant at home, which lasted for 30 seconds.” David testified that Belinda called him en route to his parents’ home. His dad spoke to her briefly and she left their residence around 3:45 p.m.
Temple “claimed that Belinda arrived at 3:45 p.m., but at trial, his testimony indicated that her arrival was closer to 4:00 p.m.,” court records say. David stated she seemed tired when she got him. He stated that he decided to take Evan, who was feeling better out, and drove to a neighborhood park around 4 p.m. They then decided to go to a larger park.
He said they were “[r]unning errands, killing time for Belinda to rest.” David said they stopped at a grocery store to get Evan something to drink. “Surveillance cameras recorded Appellant and Evan entering the store at 4:32 p.m. and leaving at 4:38 p.m. Appellant purchased drinks and cat food,” the records state.
They decided to return home but stopped at Home Depot to look at shelving for the baby’s room. David and Evan “were videotaped entering the store at 5:14 p.m. They were not videotaped exiting the store,” the court records say.
The trip took 36 minutes even though normally it would take 10-20 minutes, which he blamed on traffic. An old high school friend claimed he saw him at an intersection, which David denied.
At 4:38 p.m., Belinda’s twin sister called the home but there was no answer. Two other people called at 5:30 and 5:40 and also received no answer. David testified he and Evan arrived home shortly after 5:30 p.m.
“Witnesses testified that it was approximately five miles or twelve minutes from Home Depot to Appellant’s home. Neighbor Angela Vielma was walking to a friend’s home when she saw Appellant’s truck turn in front of her into his driveway. Inside the truck, she saw Appellant and a little boy. She estimated the time to be 5:25 p.m. From her angle, Vielma did not see Appellant’s dog in the garage, but neither did she see Belinda’s vehicle parked inside,” the court records say.
4. David Temple Ran to a Neighbor’s House for Help
The court records say that David Temple testified that he “unbuckled Evan from his car seat and helped him out of the truck. He expected Evan to wait in the garage while he ran inside to tell Belinda that they were home, and he would return to watch Evan ride his bike.”
However, when he approached the back door, he “saw that the door was partially open and the window had been smashed. He stated that he immediately thought that the house had been burglarized, so he picked up his son and ran across the street to his neighbor’s home.”
He started banging on the neighbor’s door, saying, “Mike, Mike, it’s me, David. Let me in.” Template said he thought someone had broken into his home and to call 911. Then he “bolted back to his residence.” The neighbor called for David to wait up, but he didn’t slow down. He slammed the back door behind him.
David “testified that he hit the door running full speed and hollering Belinda’s name—he found her balled up in the corner of the master closet, and he grabbed her feet to pull her flat.” He called 911.
Sergeant Sam Gonsoulin and Deputy Kathleen Johnson of the Harris County Constable’s Office responded for the burglary call and then were told someone had been shot. David walked out of the home and “calmly told the officers that his wife had been shot and that she was dead.” Gonsoulin felt David was “quiet and appeared very calm.”
Belinda’s red Isuzu Rodeo and Appellant’s blue Chevrolet pickup were parked in the garage, according to the court records. “In the Isuzu, a Home Depot bag was on the passenger seat, which contained two wooden shelf brackets and a receipt from 5:32 p.m. on January 9, 1999,” the records say. “A cellular telephone was located in the console. In the Chevrolet, a bag of cat food was on the passenger seat, a jacket was on the floorboard, and Appellant’s wallet was located in the driver’s side door.”
The records add: “The portion of the window pane closest to the door knob had been penetrated with a tool. The key to the back door was in the inside door knob, located six to eight inches from the hole. There were no pry marks on the door, and no damage to the interior side of the door.”
Testimony indicated that “it appeared that the glass in the door had been broken while the door was open because, had the door been closed, they would have expected there to be glass on the sofa.” David argued “that glass was thrown into the living room when the back door slammed into the hutch.” A defense expert testified that “the glass pattern found was consistent with the window being broken while the back door was closed.”
The records added, “In the living room, the television had been removed from its stand and was on its side on the ground. There was a fresh scratch on the front edge of the stand, and the television’s connections were still plugged in.”
Officers testified they believed it appeared to be a staged robbery. “Several officers opined that the scene appeared to be a staged robbery. Sergeant Holtke specifically testified that the scene appeared staged. He stated that if the back door had been closed at the time the glass was broken, he would have expected to see the glass toward the couch, as opposed to being in the living room,” the records show.
Furthermore the records stated, “Belinda’s purse was found in a downstairs closet, and nothing was missing from it. Her car keys were on the stairs.”
5. Detectives Discovered a Horrific Crime Scene
The crime scene was horrific. “Detective Leithner said that Belinda’s head faced the wall and was underneath some hanging clothes,” the records state.
“He testified that the injury to the back of her head was not immediately apparent because her long hair was covering that part of the wound. Leithner also testified that there was a great deal of blood and brain matter around her head, and the brain matter, when compared to the location of Belinda’s head, was ‘[f]orward and some was off to the left.'”
The records continued that Belinda “was fully clothed and still wearing her shoes. She was also wearing a watch, a bracelet, a necklace, and rings on both hands. Her glasses were found broken on the ground near her. A cordless telephone was in or near Belinda’s hand. The base of the telephone was on a dresser in the bedroom, and when Detective Schmidt pushed redial, he discovered that the last call had been made to Michael Ruggiero (the neighbor). The last number of the corded phone in the bedroom was 9–1–1, which had been called by Appellant (David Temple) upon discovering Belinda’s body.”
The records further added, “Shotgun pellets and shotgun wadding were recovered from the closet near where Belinda had been shot. Some of the shotgun pellet fragments were consistent with being double-ought size buckshot. The wadding was consistent with being from a 12–gauge shotgun. Two rifles, a 30.06 and a .22, were found in the corner of the closet.”