KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
April 11, 2023
By Natalie Cook Clark
For 24 years David Temple has been fighting the courts over his two-time murder conviction. His wife Belinda Temple was shot and killed inside their Katy. She was 8 month pregnant with their daughter, Erin. The pandemic, appeals, and a mistrial have all caused delays. The murders are considered Katy's most horrific crime.
David Temple is back in court for the sentencing trial phase from his second murder conviction. He is convicted of murdering his wife, Belinda Temple (who was 8 months pregnant) in 1999. His case has taken 24 years to bring justice for Belinda and it's still not over even after this sentencing.
The sentencing phase began yesterday and continues today. Katy Magazine is following the case and will keep this story updated with the latest information.
"It's time to end this travesty of over 24 years and get Belinda and her family the justice they are still sorely lacking," says Andy Kahan, Director of Victim Services for Crime Stoppers. Kahan has been involved with the case from the beginning and works closely to represent Belinda's family through this horrific journey.
David Temple's case has been greatly drawn out due to appeals and delays due to the pandemic.
"I've been involved with the criminal justice system for over 30 years as a Victim Advocate. Never in my extensive career have I ever experienced a case like the murder of Belinda Temple and I hope to God I never see another one that has decades to resolve.
Temple's punishment could be probation to life in prison. At the time of the crime, life in prison without parole wasn't and option. This is also why Temple has never been charged in the murder of his and Belinda's unborn daughter, Erin because the legal process must follow what it was during the time of the crime. The legal process has changed in the last 24 years.
During the last sentencing trial, 22 out of the 24 jurors wanted him to serve life in prison.
The Murder of Belinda and Erin Temple
On January 11, 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. Kahan says the twists, turns, and length of this case defy logic.
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) announced that she had filed for divorce.
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.
In November 2021 Temple's appeal for a retrial was denied. Even after this current sentencing phase, experts caution that this still won't be over. Temple's legal team is still expected to appeal through the Court of Appeals of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals due to ongoing legal issues associated with the case.
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 24 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.
“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.”
Belinda and Erin Temple were murdered on January 11, 1999. Her family still waits for justice 24 years later in what is considered one of the most horrible crimes to have occurred in Katy, TX.