KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
January 11, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark and Jennifer Miko
22 years ago, Belinda Temple was shot inside her Katy home. She and her unborn child Erin did not survive. Her husband David was convicted of her murder twice. However, a mistrial during sentencing and the pandemic have delayed sentencing.
Katy Man Awaits Sentencing
“(David Temple) remains in custody unable to post a one-million-dollar bond,” says Andy Kahan, Director of Victim Services for Crime Stoppers. “I have never experienced a case like this and hope I will never have to go through a similar scenario with any victim’s family.”
In January 1999, Belinda Temple was shot in the back of the head in her Katy home. The former Katy High School teacher was found in her master bedroom closet. Her unborn child did not survive.
Building the Case
David Temple told investigators that his wife Belinda was shot during a home invasion. His defense team pointed at Riley Joe Sanders, a teenage neighbor, as the killer. Sanders apparently held a grudge against Belinda for telling his parents he had repeatedly skipped school.
Investigators pieced together Temple's timeline around the time of the shooting, including his errands with his young son through the 911 calls. The murder weapon was never found, and investigators were unable to establish that Temple owned or had access to a 12-gauge shotgun.
On Trial for Murder
After further investigation, Temple was indicted for his wife's murder in 2004. The evidence presented at Temple’s trial removed suspicion from the neighbor, Sanders. The prosecutor, Kelly Siegler, argued there were holes in Temple’s alibi, and that the former head coach at Alief Hastings High School, wanted out of his marriage. Siegler suggested Temple wanted to be with Heather Scott, with whom he was having an affair at the time.
A Harris Country jury found Temple guilty in 2007. He then served nine years in prison. However, an appeals court overturned the conviction citing Siegler withheld evidence from the defense.
By December 2016, Temple was out on bond.
Back in Court
On July 8, 2019, Temple’s retrial began. Four days later, Temple’s wife Heather (whom he married two years after Belinda’s death) made a stunning announcement. She filed for divorce from Temple.
For 18 days, the jury listened to witness testimony, and both sides presenting their case. In the closing arguments, the defense argued that investigators didn’t properly investigate the teenage neighbor, and that Temple was out with the couple’s three-year-old at the time of the murder. The jury would need to believe all evidence presented without a reasonable doubt.
The new prosecutor told the jury the break-in details on the day of the shooting appeared staged. The prosecution pointed out that nothing was stolen, and the family’s dog didn’t prevent the intruder from entering the home. The prosecution also suggested there was a 20-minute gap in Temple’s alibi where he could have committed the crime.
Kahan describes the Temple’s home as being in a nice neighborhood that had no history of crime or break-ins.
“Not even the dumbest burglar in the world would break into that house in the middle of the workday when school was getting out,” says Kahan.
Kahan also described the Temple’s dog, a large attack dog, and how deputies couldn’t even get in the house because of him.
“You are telling me a teenage burglar got past that attack dog when the deputies couldn’t?” asks Kahan. “There is no ifs, ands, or buts that David Temple committed this murder.”
In August 2019, 20 years after Belinda and her unborn child were killed, and an 18-day retrial, the jury took eight hours to reach a verdict. They found Temple guilty of murdering his pregnant wife in their Katy home, and that he should return to prison.
However, after the jury deliberated for 19 hours, over three days, they could not reach a unanimous agreement on sentencing.
“There is no precedent for finding someone guilty the second time and not agreeing on a sentencing,” says Kahan.
The judge set Temple’s bond at $1 million and he was sent to the Harris County jail. While many have been released on the current low-bond problem that Kahan and the Crime Stoppers are fighting, Temple remains in custody.
“This has been a saving grace,” explains Kahan. “He got an unprecedented bond. After the first trial, he was out.”
Temple’s next court appearance was scheduled for March 2020, when a new jury would convene to determine his punishment. Due to the pandemic, the retrial and sentencing of Temple, who has been found guilty twice, has been delayed again.
Supporting Family for over Two Decades
Kahan has been there for Belinda’s family from the start.
“I speak on their behalf as I have for 22 years,” he says. “They have never wavered or doubted that David Temple is responsible for the brutal, cold-blooded murder of Belinda and her unborn child.”
Kahan says that Belinda’s father Tom, her brother, and twin sister deeply appreciate all that the Katy community has done and supported them, especially Belinda’s colleagues at Katy High School. Belinda’s mother, Carol has passed away.
Pictured, is a plaque on display at the courthouse for parents of murdered children, and surviving family members of homicide.
“They have never had a chance to heal,” says Kahan. “This is constantly shadowing over them. They are one of the greatest, determined families I’ve ever worked with.”
Like so many businesses, trials, and lives in general, COVID-19 continues to alter plans. This is especially seen in the court system.
“The timing has worked against Belinda’s family,” says Kahan.
On this date, 22 years ago, Belinda and Erin were murdered. Her family still waits for justice in what is considered one of the most horrible crimes to have occurred in Katy, TX.