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Nigerian Woman Jessica Tata Jailed For 80 Years In Texas, US

jessica tata jailed 80 years

Nov 23, 2012 – Nigerian Woman Jessica Tata Jailed For 80 Years In Texa US

A Houston jury has reached a decision on the sentencing phase of the trial against Jessica Tata, a daycare owner whose home caught fire, killing and injuring several children.

On November 13, Tata was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 80 years in prison.

Tata, 24, left children in a home on Crest Park near Waypark alone with a pan of grease heating on a stove while she went shopping on February 24, 2011.

When she got home, the house was on fire. Elias, Shomari Dickerson, 3; Elizabeth Kojah, 20 months, and Kendyll Stradford, 20 months, all died in the fire. Three other children were hurt.

Jurors took eight hours to decide on punishment. Tata will be eligible for parole in 30 years.

Tata wiped away tears as her attorney, Mike DeGeurin, said the fire and deaths were an accident. He said Tata made a mistake and never intended for the children to be hurt because she loved them.

“She should have called for help or she should have said to herself, ‘I’ll wait until they wake up, change their diapers, I’ll load them up in the car and we’ll go shopping together,’” DeGeurin said. “But she didn’t.”

DeGeurin said that Tata will forever pay, no matter how long she spends in prison, for using bad judgment. (Source)



  1. Muhammad Lawal

    November 23, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    Iz vry un4tunatly.

  2. Daniel Olobayo

    November 23, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    80yrs in prison, she has bn misjudge since it is a mistake.

    • Marto

      November 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      Really a big one, if they are her she would still got the same judgment ,she babysit and the children alone at home, she must have forgot she put a pan on stove but and left. If you are a babysitter you can’t left the children in your care unattended .she knows the country she lives in ,she knows when it comes to children they don’t joke with it.when that case happens she was trying to do cover up, and wanted to pretend she did not left the a pity they gave her longtime jail .

      • nwa

        November 23, 2012 at 9:38 PM

        pls read but plsssssssssssssssssssssss don´t commemt.

  3. kayfunny

    November 23, 2012 at 7:57 AM

    dis shows d level of our govt’s nonchallant attitude, imagine someone from a country where crude oil has spoilt almost 95% of its southern part’s other natural resources was baby sitting in d U.S all in d name of “seekin our daily manna in greener pastures”. it so unfortunate for Tata i’ll say, i pray GOD help u in dis current palava sha… so sad.

    • Apple

      November 23, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      I don’t think you have a sense of reasoning at all, is there anything bad in baby sitting job in Abroad? Even some Americans or British citizens do baby sitting job in their own motherland and we have some Nigerians who do that too in Naija.. What matters to me is the Income and remember everybody will not be a Doctor or Accountant, because all fingers a not the same…

      • Lanre

        July 30, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Pls, learn how to address pple in public. How could you say a fellow being as no sense of reasoning? You need to apologise to kayfunny for that, after all what he was trying to say makes a lot of sense, contrary to your perception. If not for the state of our economy, with the resources that we have, Nigerians shd be treated as Kings and Queens outside the shores of this nation. Infact, it is far better for better for her to be a Babyseater in Nigeria than in US. All these determine the way these pple relate with us as a nation.

  4. Patrick Iwuajoku

    November 23, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    what a pity……..

  5. Prince Felix

    November 23, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    that is killing as (eye for an eye) Too bad.

  6. Adamu Musa Oluwaseun Danazimi

    November 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM


  7. Ifeanyi Anucha

    November 23, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    80 years is too much.

  8. aj ponpin

    November 23, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    give ur live to Jesus ,he will make way where drs no way.

  9. Angela Okafor

    November 23, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    well truely is an accident we would cal it bc no man is above mistake. But d imprisonment 4 80yrs is much 4 her. So pls we hav 2 tamper justice wit mercz and reduce her yrs of imprisonment.

    • Von

      November 24, 2012 at 2:40 AM

      In America people are not too proud to work! A job is better than 419. And to add to that she owned a childcare center; if that changes the outcome of the story.

  10. Aminu Abdulmuhmin Opeyemi

    November 23, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    Chinese has one word for both opportunity and disaster……….


    November 23, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Tata, the lord is your strenght


    November 23, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    Jessica Tata, the lord is your strenght

  13. Ernest Okwuchi

    November 23, 2012 at 9:30 AM


  14. innocent

    November 23, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Since it wasn’t a deliberate act of murder,I think d judgement is 2 severe and shud be reversed ‘cos no one’s above mistake
    80yrs imprisonment is the same thing as life imprisonment,it was a mistake and d judgement shouldn’t have 2 be that heavy…

  15. Ethel Odekhiran Peters

    November 23, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    pls. lets be judgemental here, its a mistake.

  16. Henry

    November 23, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Wat dat 80yr meanz is live in prisonment**hw old is d woman n dat a very silly mistak dat she made bt dat 80yr 2 much e 4 b 5yer or even 10

  17. stanzoco

    November 23, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    We all know it was a mistake. But why 80yrs, dats too much.

  18. Mary Osodi

    November 23, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Carelessness! Its a pity.

  19. jerome kruz

    November 23, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    You no wan stay 4 corrupt naija na so the ibo pple o treat una like animal, me i no no de road wer lead to America self.

    • Uzoma

      November 23, 2012 at 2:06 PM

      Jerome Kruz. I do not think that is your real name. What has the sentence given Tata got to do with Ibo people? while a lot of effort is being made to promote unity in Nigeria Idiots like you are doing otherwise.

  20. samuel

    November 23, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    She has to face the liability, although is a mistake

  21. Loveday

    November 23, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    its d work of the devil, belief me.

  22. kennedy ogbonna from nsukka

    November 23, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Am a pure american u don see their judgement, serena talk soo, she go soon see her own we dey wait. Let me tell u, if na pure american them no go judge it like dat.

  23. Enuel

    November 23, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I dont tink dy will treat one of dia own like dat ..4gudness sake 80yrs is 2much nd outa dis world. Tata God wil show u a way out . Mistake it is . It could even be d judge

  24. justice forall

    November 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    First of all, i deeply regret the death of the innocent children; but this is another jungle justice carried out even the middle of the so called civilised world (USA) How on earth can a judge sentenced a 24yrs old woman to 80yrs in prison for an ovious mistake of that sort? no doubt the composition of that jury would be 99°/° all whites jurry thus making this sentence a hatefull one, No doubt, the poor woman would’ve been poorly reprensented by another racist state attorney This is an obvious mockery of the so called Americal judicial system. This is again another failleur on the part of Nigerian corrupt government at home and abroad a nigerian’s life at home & abroad is worthless than that of a chicken. Now, where are the so called civil right movement in the US?

    • Eva linn

      November 24, 2012 at 3:45 AM

      I kind of don’t agree with you on this judgement u made because this was not based any racial issue but on the outcome of event of what happened because I still don’t see why a woman will be so negligent on an issue like this especially when it concerns innocent little kids .I could understand if she went shopping with the kids and forgot the hot oil on the fire and then the house was burnt .but for the fact she left them in the house and went out is a touching story to behalf and this brought me to tears cause that could be my own child and what do u think I would do

    • Nelson Usoro

      December 10, 2012 at 8:33 AM

      Jessica Tata case was not a mistake.It was an act of carelessness that looked like revenge.In the International world things are not viewed the way Nigerians see it.There were so many evidence to testify and they were verified.You cannot run a daycare alone when you have multiple children to take care of.In the United States it is a crime on its own to allow children below the age of 17 alone in the house.Some people do it for children between 11 to 16 but on the ground that if there is fire outbreak,the child would be able to run outside.But in this case,Jessica knew very well she had something on electric cooker ,and having toddlers at home,with no worker employed to assist.Also also knows that she is being paid heavily by the parents of those children.But still abandoned them to go for shopping in a long distance place.None of us will take it kindly in Nigeria,Her act was intentional NOT a mistake.The cost of taking care of a child is very expensive in this part of the world.Delivery charges alone is about $10,000 and the dollar is the most difficult thing to get on earth especially in this hard time.If any of you had been in the United States,you will not talk like this because you would have known how powerful the laws work here.My Nigeria brothers and sisters try to do things illegally and think they will work away with it but are always caught unaware.The law is not a respecter of any person here be you who or what.

  25. Annonymous

    November 23, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    The sentence was severe because she fled to Nigeria after the tragedy. She should not have ran away.

    • Nelson Usoro

      December 10, 2012 at 8:46 AM

      No. I live in Houston Texas, not too far from her area.She tempted setting her school on fire during her school days because she was punished for wrong doing,and there was evidence to that.In United States you have to be careful because there is record for everything you do.Judgements are not just passed.They assessed your past character to know wheter your action can be taken as a mistake.They also look at how many times you have violated the law and determineb your kind of persons.They invite your friends,former coworkers,room mates and living neigbors to attest for your character before concluding judgement.I personally witnessed the judgement along with other Nigerians.Jessica had no good record .Even the certificate to operate theb day care,the information she provided contained some lies.Over here lying is a serious crime especially when misinforming government record.

  26. chinko st bede

    November 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    my dearest sister; GOD IS UR STRIENTH

  27. BUGGATI.

    November 23, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    she should move closer to jehova.he will surely see her through.

  28. usher

    November 23, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    God is ur strength.u can still go out of d prison.neva gv up.u made very vita mistake.hahahaha

  29. ebenezer chukwu of gembu kaka qtrs

    November 23, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    80 years is the same thing as live inprisonment but ignorance iz not an excuse in this case too bad then

  30. Obora kinchibi

    November 23, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    I pity her xo much,But d question z;was her act intensional??? I tink she 4got sumting was on fire,am pleadin wt d jury 2 mk an apeal.pls

  31. Eddy Ekond

    November 23, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    No amount of jail sentence would bring d children back to life though it might serves as deterrent to others. The judge was a bit hard on her. May d souls of d children rest in peace. Amen.

  32. Dan

    November 23, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    God wud help her out,d parole may cum earlier,hweva she made a vry costly mistak bt d sentence on d odahand is too much,atlist 10 or 15yrs is enof,is bcos she’s a black prsn 4rm africa

  33. willfred

    November 24, 2012 at 12:59 AM

    tata i believe god will help you out
    i pity her

  34. Eva linn

    November 24, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    One question I want to ask everyone who is against this ruling is if it was one of your children that got burnt would you comment by saying 80years is too much .How can a woman go to the store to shop leaving kids in the house that even means that was not the first time she did it .so my fellow Nigerians before you make a comment please use your head to think straight cause if this was one of ur child that it happened to what will you do ?

  35. ;(;(:o

    November 24, 2012 at 6:43 AM

    U guy ar bastards hw many nigeria children has d soo called boko haram killed for no reason nd how many of them hv been sent to jail u idiots nd u dat said she is an ibo woman u ar a course to ur family u bastard. May their soul rest in peace

  36. Edu Enya

    November 24, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    Eva Linn: will that judgement on Tata bring back the lives of those innocent kids? Hope ur not taking this issue personal? If u serve God, u understand that revenge is not for us but of God. That judgement is to harsh bcos it not intentional, everybody who commented here must not have been wrong to speak toward same directions of long sentencing. Be constructive in ur judgements as human bcos if ur in this shoes, u ask for mercy as well

  37. sandra

    November 24, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    The penalty for her crime(mistake)is too much,afterall there are worse cases that haven’t recieved such penalty,when the judge was pronouncing this judgement on Jessica Tata,did he actually think. If she will live up to the 80yrs adding up with her current age?God pls have mercy on us all.

  38. shynarh

    November 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I don’t want to believe she make mistakes, she should have left some one home to take care of the children, but 80 years in prison is too much

  39. Gbenga

    November 24, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Mosunmola martin, if dat is ur name in all dat happend here that’s your conclution “she is an igbo woman” what a pity, people like you are the reason why this country is where it is today…am so sorry.

  40. Cy

    November 24, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Its not her fault & 80yrs is 2 much

  41. Cy

    November 24, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    God!,may d souls of d departd kids rest in peace but 80 is 2 much becos she was nt cauht d children 4 ritual.At least,maximum of 15yrs is enough

  42. Cy

    November 24, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    God!,may d souls of d departd kids rest in peace but 80 is 2 much becos she was nt caught killin d children 4 ritual.At least,maximum of 15yrs is enough

  43. yommy

    November 24, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    when she got home and saw the fire she ran to the airport and flew to naija to hide she showed no sympathy to the kids burning in her house she was arrested in naija thru interpol and taken back to face trial dats why she got 80yrs

  44. yommy

    November 24, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    if she had called for help or reported she could have gotten a lite sentence but she wanted to evade the law as the judge said …..she made a bad judgement

  45. jeje silva

    November 25, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    So sympathetic.we all need to pray for mercy of God for her n the parent of human we tend to make mstke we pray we dnt mk mstke that
    t will claims life n ruin our d point she saw it she mst hv been confused,she knws d consequence that ws y she fled.I really feel for for the parent of d children no other wrd than God knws best,he giveth n taketh.may God gvnthose concerns grace to bear the loss.maywe not experience trials that will.b beyond us seeking for daily.bread n in our life.

  46. Rick Mae

    November 25, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    80yrs? It’s a pity… Wil she survive up til dat time? Bcuz she wil b 104yrs if she’ll stil b alive… Sorry,tata…

  47. Concerned Comentator

    November 27, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    She’s up for parole in 30 years. 20 years for child no.1 + 20 years for child no.2 + 20 years for child no.3 + 10 years for endangerment and destruction of property + 10 years for impact on families (I’m sure there are more applicable charges). 80 years is about right. Really there’s no amount of time she could serve to truly pay for what she did. She would have to be allowed to have three children and have them burned to death. She would also have to be killed herself, 3 times over. For everyone’s life she impacted through her actions she would have to suffer what they have and will suffer. She’s up for parole in 30 years? Her sentence is EXCEEDINGLY merciful. EXCEEDINGLY merciful. Can you imagine what it felt like to those children, first to realize that they had been abandoned by those who were entrusted to love and care for them, and then to burn slowly, probably trying, in vain, to protect, shield and rescue each other from the fire. Or how about having your own children killed by someone you made the decision to leave them with and did not have the discernment to judge a good babysitter from a terrible one. How would you feel about yourself as a mother or a father? I’m sorry too for Ms. Tata. She was decieved by the enemy into believing that it was okay to leave those children in the dangerous situation that she created. In order for societies to not fall into chaos we have to be held accountable for our actions or else we can’t claim to be adults or be extended any freedoms. Ms. Tata could have been anyone from anywhere. Anything short of a long and torturous death (like those children suffered) is truly merciful. If she’s not a believer, she still has the opportunity to live forever, forgiven by God. What I think I’m hearing from a lot of the comments is a petition for sympathy for themselves if they were Ms. Tata not an expression of empathy for the chidren. That to me is tremendously disturbing. I’m not white, just in case anyone wants to think that this could only be a white point of view.

  48. Gabriel Chrismadu

    November 28, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Sentencing a woman for 80 yrs for a mistake that caused lives may be ok for the people that passed the judgement,but I want to ask "how many yrs imprisonment has been or will be given to those gangsters,robbers,assassins and other related criminals in US who intentionally take lives of innocent people there ?" Let us try to be sensitive in whatever judgement we pass b/cos God has the final judgement.

  49. Another concerned reader

    January 12, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    yea umm i got kids and ummmm yea she got what she deserved she should have gotten the electric chair =)

    you dont leave kids unattended no matter what the situation

    all you people telling her jesus and allah and jehova is with her

    no you are mistaken their will be a nice place for her next to Satan himself!!

  50. sommy

    July 29, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    @concerned commentator in Nigeria here we’ve seen deaths I mean witnessed different bombing,I personally feel terrible.That is a very costly mistake but no amount of punishment can atone for that crime.Her crime is not worse than all those assassins,serial killers and armrobbers over their.She fled yes we no that most Americans that are declared wanted for worse crimes when caught serve lesser terms that she ran is not a new thing,most culprit go into hidding after commiting a crime.Ma point is life imprisonment is toooooo much and why they did that to her is partly because she is not an American ie RACISM to everyone everybody have expiry date even the so called judges when your time is up you give up to the ghost.To tata if you can repent God can still forgive you.

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