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Texas day care owner gets 80 years in fire that killed 4 kids

By the CNN Wire Staff
November 21, 2012 -- Updated 1646 GMT (0046 HKT)
A jury found Jessica Tata guilty of murder on Nov. 13, 2012, for a 2011 fire that killed four children at her home day care.
A jury found Jessica Tata guilty of murder on Nov. 13, 2012, for a 2011 fire that killed four children at her home day care.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jessica Tata was convicted of murder in the 2011 deaths of four kids at her day care
  • Prosecutors said she left seven children unsupervised, and that her careless led to the fire
  • Tata fled to Nigeria after the fire, but she was arrested and returned to the United States

(CNN) -- A woman convicted of murder in the 2011 deaths of four children in a fire at her Houston day care center was sentenced Tuesday morning to 80 years in prison.

Jessica Tata also was ordered to pay a fine of $10,000. She was silent as a judge read the sentence, which came from a jury but was confirmed by the judge.

She declined an opportunity to speak at the sentencing, which took place in a Houston courtroom.

Prosecutors said Tata's carelessness led to the February 2011 fire that killed the four children and injured three others at her home day care. She was convicted of felony murder last week.

Tata, then 22, left seven children unsupervised at her home day care while a pan of oil was on an activated stove, authorities said. The home was on fire when she returned, authorities said.

After the fire, Tata fled to Nigeria, and the U.S. Marshals Service named her one of its most wanted fugitives.

She was arrested in Nigeria in March 2011 and brought back to the United States. The Marshals Service said it worked "with international investigative resources in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to bring Tata to justice."

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