The murder case of 30-year-old Belinda on January 11, 1999 has faced a long road to justice. Temple was indicted on charges of murdering his wife in 2005 and found guilty following a jury trial in 2007. In 2016, a judge overturned the verdict, determining that a prosecutor withheld evidence that could have changed the results of the case. Temple was freed, but only briefly. He faced a retrial which concluded in August of 2019. A jury, once again, found him guilty. But a mistrial was called because the jury could not agree on a sentence. A new jury will determine his sentence in the spring. Now, Temple remains in prison and the guilty verdict still stands.
David Mark Temple never veered far from his hometown in Katy, Texas, a suburb of Houston. He and Belinda moved back to his hometown after grad school, and he moved in with his parents and his son, Evan, after the murder.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. David Temple Has Been Convicted of Murdering His Wife Twice, But His Sentence Has Not Been Determined After a Recent Mistrial
David Mark Temple was convicted twice of murdering his pregnant wife, Belinda Temple, who died January 11, 1999. He was indicted on the murder charge in 2005, but he was immediately considered a suspect. A jury found Temple guilty of murder following a trial in 2007, and he was sentenced to life in prison. But that conviction was overturned November 23, 2016, after a judge found the prosecutor, Kelly Siegler, did not hand over evidence on a possible suspect. You can read the judge’s opinion in full here.
In August 2019, a jury found Temple guilty of murder again. A jury deliberated for 19 hours, but could not agree on the sentence he should serve, and a sentencing mistrial was called. However, after 19 hours of deliberation, they called a mistrial at sentencing. Temple’s guilty verdict still stands.
“Judge, severe violence has already been done to most of our conscience to even get this far,” Johnson read in a note penned by the jury foreman, according to Chron News. “We believe it is a total fluke, a 1 in 1,000 chance this group of jurors was assembled.”
The jurors were considering a sentence that ranged from probation or five years to life in prison. Temple already served 10 years in prison in his wife’s murder.
A Texas judge, Larry Gist, conducted a lengthy examination of Temple’s case in 2016 following his appeal. Temple claimed he was innocent. The judge disagreed, but he determined the prosecutor, Kelly Siegler, failed to turn over evidence on an additional suspect which could have changed the results of the trial. Siegler is a TV lawyer on Cold Justice. Gist’s opinion, which you can read in full here, overturned Temple’s guilty conviction until the retrial in August 2019.
Temple filed an appeal following his 2007 murder conviction, asking for relief based on a claim of actual innocence, ineffective counsel, and a due process violation. The judge rejected the claim of actual innocence and the claim of ineffective counsel.
The judge accepted Temple’s Brady claim, which is a claim pertaining to law that requires prosecutors to turn over evidence to a defense attorney that could be favorable to the defendant. Much of that evidence involved a 16-year-old neighbor, identified in court documents as “R.J.S.” He was an early suspect in the case, along with David Temple. Police conducted an investigation into whether the teen murdered Belinda Temple, but the prosecution team did not hand over hundreds of pages of police reports to Temple’s attorney. She told the judge at the writ hearing she did not hand over the material because she thought the evidence was not relevant and found it “ridiculous.”
“There were at least five detectives who generated reports of their investigation of the murder, and there were approximately 1400 pages of offense reports in this case,” the opinion said. “Prior to trial, defense counsel requested copies of these reports, which he believed contained Brady evidence—including statements by R.J.S. and his friends, who were ‘rumored’ to have some involvement in the murder, and evidence provided by witnesses that could have supported an alternate suspect theory. However, defense counsel was denied access to them.”
2. David Temple Was Released From Prison in 2016 After Serving 10 Years Behind Bars, Then Jailed Again in 2019
Temple was first indicted in the murder of his pregnant wife, Belinda Temple, in 2005. She died January 11, 1999. He was convicted following a trial in 2007 and sentenced to life in prison. Temple filed an appeal, making three claims: he was innocent, he had ineffective counsel, and prosecutors failed to hand over evidence which could have changed the jury’s verdict. A judge conducted a lengthy examination and issued an opinion, which you can read in full here.
The opinion overturned Temple’s conviction, and he was freed from prison after serving 10 years behind bars. Then in August 2019, a jury found Temple guilty a second time. However, they could not agree on a sentence. Temple’s guilty verdict still stands, and he has a new court set for March 27, 2020, according to his prison records.
Temple is behind bars at Harris County Jail, where his bail is set at $999,999. He was booked into the jail August 6, 2019, after a brief period of freedom when his appeal was granted. He is now 51 years old.
3. David Temple Was a Football Star at Katy High School & Became a Coach at Alief Hastings High School
Football was a recurrent thread throughout David Temple’s life. He was a star football player when he was a teenager at Katy High School. He also played football in college, at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. It was in college that David Temple and Belinda met. They married in 1992, and continued their education to earn their master’s degrees from the university. While they were in grad school, she worked as a teacher and he worked as a coach, according to a court decision filed in his case in 2010.
In 1994, the young couple moved to Katy, and Temple became an assistant football coach at Alief Hastings High School. They eventually bought a home in David Temple’s hometown, 15 minutes from his parents house. David Temple moved back into his childhood home with his parents and his son Evan until he married Heather Scott in 2001, the court decision said.
He confessed to his family he was having an affair shortly after his wife’s murder. Several friends went to his parents’ house to express their condolences, and found David in a serious discussion behind closed doors with his brothers, Darren and Kevin, according to the court decision.
“On Wednesday, January 13, 1999, friends of Belinda Temple went to the home of Kenneth and Maureen Temple to express their sympathy,” the court decision said. “At one point, the guests were forced to stand outside. They were not allowed inside because Appellant, Kenneth, and Appellant’s two brothers, Kevin and Darren, were having a meeting. During this meeting, the men asked Appellant if there was anything that they needed to know. Kenneth testified that Appellant initially denied that he had anything to share, but he finally informed them that he had had an ‘affair.’ Maureen testified that, shortly after this meeting, she, too, was informed by Appellant of his weekend with the teacher.”
4. David & Belinda Temple Had a Young Son & She Was Pregnant With Their Daughter
David and Belinda Temple had a son, Evan Temple, who was only 3 years old when his mother died. He was sick the day of his mother’s murder on January 11, 1999. His mom, Belinda Temple, left work early to pick him up from daycare after she received a call that he was running a fever. Later in the afternoon, she brought him soup. His father, David Temple, took Evan out to run errands. He told police that when he came home, he saw the back door was open and the glass in it was shattered. He took Evan to the neighbor’s house and told them to call 911, according to an opinion filed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
Evan Temple now is 24 years old and remains close with his father’s family. He will not speak with his mother’s family, according to ABC 13. Andy Kahan, who works for the local Crime Stoppers organization and serves as Belinda Temple’s family spokesperson, told the news station in August 2019 the family has tried unsuccessfully to speak with Evan Temple.
“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.”
Belinda Temple’s sister, Brenda Lucas, told police the couple was arguing about her pregnancy when she visited them shortly before the murder, according to a court decision filed in 2010. David Temple testified it was untrue that he was unhappy about the pregnancy, saying he loved his unborn daughter, “wanted her more than anything,” and that the pregnancy was planned.
The unborn child would have died “quickly but not instantly,” a medical examiner testified, according to a court decision filed in 2013. David and Belinda Temple planned to name their daughter Erin.
5. David Temple’s Friend Described him as Volatile, Controlling & a Meticulous Planner
A friend of David Temple, Quinton Harlan, testified about the man’s personality at his trial in 2007. Harlan and Temple worked together at Alief Hastings High School. Harlan said David Temple was a man who could be volatile, and he had a controlling personality. He described Temple as a person who planned things out meticulously. He recalled that Temple teased Harlan when he could not attend their weekly happy hour get-together, and told him he needed to “take control of his house and his wife,” according to a court decision filed in 2010.
“In the Fall of 1998, Alief Hastings coaches and teachers met every week for a ‘happy hour,'” the court decision said. “Appellant testified that he attended four or five happy hours. Quinton testified that he did not attend many of the happy hours and that appellant would chide him when he did not attend. Quinton also testified that when he and appellant did socialize, appellant would think of stories for Quinton to tell his wife regarding his whereabouts. According to Quinton, appellant said he was in control of his house, and told Quinton that he needed ‘to take control of [his] house and control of [his] wife.’ On cross-examination, Quinton explained that appellant was not joking when he told Quinton to take control of his marriage. Quinton also testified that appellant could be volatile, had a controlling personality, and was meticulous in his planning.”
Harlan’s wife, Tammy Harlan, testified that Temple would mock his wife in front of them, calling her “fat.” He also spoke derogatorily of his wife’s family, saying they were “white trash” and that he did not want his son to be around them.
Evan Temple, now 24, has not spoken to his mother’s family since the murder.
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