Belinda Temple was 30 years old and eight months pregnant when she was gunned down by her husband, David Temple, in their home in Katy, Texas, January 11, 1999.
More than 20 years would pass before the murder case was settled. David Temple was found guilty in her murder in August 2019. It was the second time he was found guilty. However, the jury could not decide on a sentence for Temple, now 51. A mistrial was called, although his guilty verdict still stands. A new jury will decide on his sentence in the spring of 2020. Temple already spent 10 years in prison for his wife’s murder. A jury convicted him of murder in 2007, but a judge overturned the conviction in 2016 after determining the prosecutor did not properly handle the case.
Belinda Lucas Temple grew up in a small town in eastern Texas. She had a twin sister, Brenda Lucas. She stayed close to home for college, attending Stephen F. Austin State University in her hometown. She married David Temple in 1992, and they had a son.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Belinda Temple Grew Up in a Small City in Eastern Texas & Had a Twin Sister
Belinda Temple grew up in a Nacogdoches, Texas, a small city about 2 hours northeast of Houston. Nacogdoches had a population of about 33,000 during the 2010 census. Her maiden name was Lucas. Temple also had a twin sister, Brenda Lucas.
Belinda Temple and David Temple met in college. They both attended Stephen F. Austin State University. Stephen F. Austin State University is a four-year teaching and research university in Nacogdoches. They were married in 1992, and continued attending the university to earn their master’s degrees, according to a court decision filed in 2010.
Two years after Belinda and David were married, they bought a home near his childhood home in Katy, Texas, a Houston suburb. The young couple bought a corner lot in the Cimmaron subdivision, and lived about 15 minutes from his parents, according to an opinion filed in David Temple’s case in 2016.
Temple told police he came home to find his house burglarized and his wife dead in the bedroom, but police believe the burglary was staged. When police arrived, David Temple “calmly” told them his wife was dead, according to a court decision filed in his case in 2013.
“He calmly told the officers that his wife had been shot and that she was dead,” the decision said.
It went on to say David Temple was asked to wait outside and was “quiet” and “very calm.” He eventually became agitated when he learned police may want to take a statement from him, the court paperwork said.
2. Belinda Temple’s Father, Tom Lucas, Wrote a Touching Tribute to her & her Unborn Daughter on the Anniversary of her Death
Belinda Temple’s dad, Tom Lucas, wrote a touching tribute to his daughter and his unborn granddaughter, Erin, on the 12-year-anniversary of her murder.
“12 years ago, tragedy struck,” he wrote on January 11, 2011. “January 11, 1999 was the day Belinda and Erin were murdered. It has been a very difficult and trying twelve years for Mom and Dad. We still love you Belinda and Erin. We love Evan too even though he has been kept from us. We hope that some day Evan will learn the truth as to what happened to his mother and baby sister.”
Evan, who was only 3 when his mother died, has remained close to his father’s family, according to ABC 13. Andy Kahan, who works with the local Crime Stoppers organization and serves as a spokesperson for Belinda Temple’s family, told the news station that the family has tried to regain contact with him.
“Kahan says despite her family’s efforts to reach out to Evan, he has not been in contact with them since her murder,” the news station reported. “Rather, Evan has remained close with David Temple’s side of the family.”
Tom Lucas has few public posts, but among those was a request for donations for the National Organization of Parents Of Murdered Children, Inc. for his birthday in April.
“I’ve chosen this nonprofit because their mission means a lot to me, and I hope you’ll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me,” he wrote. “Every little bit will help me reach my goal.”
3. Belinda Temple Was a Pregnant Mother of a 3-Year-Old Boy When She Was Gunned Down in her Texas Home
Belinda Temple was eight months pregnant with her second child, a girl, when she was gunned down in her home in Katy, Texas, a suburb of Houston, on January 11, 1999. Her son, Evan, was only 3 years old when she died. On the day of her death, she went to work at Katy High School, where she worked as a special education teacher. She got a phone call from Evan’s day care at about 12:30 p.m., saying he was running a fever. She left work to pick him up. Later that afternoon, she had to go to a meeting at work, and her husband, David Temple, went home to take care of Evan. On her way home, she picked up soup for Evan at her in-laws’ house, according to an opinion filed in David Temple’s case in 2016.
Evan was nearing 4 years old at the time. Belinda Temple’s body was found in the closet of their master bedroom. She was shot in the back of the head with a 12-gauge shotgun. Investigators believe she was kneeling at the time she was shot, according to a court decision filed in the case in 2013.
David Temple claimed he came home with his son to find the back door open and a window smashed in the door. He took Evan to a neighbor’s house and told them to call 911, but prevented the neighbor from following him. He said he found his wife dead and “balled up” and pulled her legs to flatten her body. Crime scene details seemed to indicate the burglary was staged, according to the court decision. It appeared the window had been smashed when the door was open, because no glass was on a nearby couch. There were no signs of forced entry on the door.
Nothing was stolen in the house, and the jewelry on Belinda Temple’s body was undisturbed. David Temple told investigators the burglar “didn’t take one single thing that belonged to [him],” the court opinion said. But two days after the murder, he reported to his insurance company that 10 pieces of jewelry were stolen. The jewelry was given to David Temple by his mother, Maureen Temple. Police did not learn about the report of missing jewelry until nearly two weeks later when they saw it on the news.
4. Belinda Temple Was a ‘Strong-Willed Woman’ But ‘Uncharacteristically Submissive’ Around her Husband
A friend of Belinda Temple, Tammy Harlan, testified Belinda was a strong-willed woman who would become submissive around her husband, according to a court decision filed in David Temple’s case in 2013. She said he would disparage Belinda in front of her and insult her family. He showed contempt about the way she raised their son and kept up the house. She said he kept their young son, Evan, from visiting his maternal grandparents.
“Quinton Harlan, Appellant’s friend and fellow coach at Alief Hastings High School, opined that Appellant could be volatile, had a controlling personality, and was meticulous in his planning,” the court decision said. “His wife, Tammy, testified that Belinda was a strong-willed woman, but uncharacteristically submissive and meek when in Appellant’s presence. Tammy stated that she would tell Belinda to stand up to Appellant and to tell him how she felt. Although she acknowledged that Appellant was a good father to Evan, Tammy explained that Appellant made derogatory statements about the manner in which Belinda raised Evan and kept the house. Both Tammy and Quinton testified that Appellant called Belinda ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ in front of them. Tammy also asserted that Appellant called Belinda’s family ‘crazy, white trash, fat’ and that ‘he would say he didn’t even want [Belinda] or Evan around them,’ even preventing Evan from spending time with Belinda’s family.
Witnesses portrayed differing views of the couple’s relationship. Several witnesses testified at trial the couple had a “good,” “loving” and “caring” relationship. Others said they were a “compatible couple” in an “equal partnership,” according to the court decision filed in David Temple’s case.
However, Belinda Temple’s twin sister, Brenda Lucas, described an antagonistic relationship. In her testimony, she described David Temple as “controlling.” She visited the couple around Christmas, shortly before the murder, and said the couple was “not getting along.” He repeatedly made fun of her “big butt” and Lucas told her sister she needed to “put her foot down” with him.
5. Belinda Temple Was a Special Education Teacher at Katy High School
Belinda Temple was a special education teacher at Katy High School, her husband’s alma mater, when she was gunned down in her nearby home. She left work early on the day of her death to care for her son, Evan, who was sick with a fever. Evan was 3 when his mother died.
Her coworkers spoke during the 2019 retrial about her passion as a teacher, describing her as a cheerful and friendly woman, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“Early in the trial, Belinda’s coworkers painted a portrait of the special education teacher, speaking emotionally about her passion as an educator and a mother,” the newspaper reported after the 2019 trial. “She was joyous and full of light, and generally the more talkative half in her relationship. Her friends also highlighted an ugly side of the marriage, where they said Belinda was forced to pull most of the weight at home, even in the late stages of her pregnancy.”
Andy Kahan, who served as her family’s spokesperson, said justice had finally been served after the retrial found David Temple guilty a second time.
“The bottom line is, David Temple is not just a one-time convicted murderer,” the Houston Chronicle reported. “He has now been convicted twice, and that speaks volumes.”
READ NEXT: David Temple Now: Where Is He Today in 2019?