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Originally published Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 10:50 AM

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Defense to seek leniency in day care fire

It's defense attorneys' turn to offer evidence in support of leniency for a Texas woman convicted of murder in a fire at her home day care that killed four children.

The Associated Press

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HOUSTON —

It's defense attorneys' turn to offer evidence in support of leniency for a Texas woman convicted of murder in a fire at her home day care that killed four children.

Attorneys for Jessica Tata open their case Friday in the punishment phase of her trial. She could be sentenced to up to life in prison for the death of 16-month-old Elias Castillo.

Prosecutors rested their case Thursday. They said the February 2011 fire started after Tata left children alone with a pan of oil on a hot stove while she went shopping. Along with the four children who died, three were injured.

Tata's attorneys say she never intended to hurt the children, who ranged in age from 16 months to 3 years old, and that she tried to save them.

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