Jessica Tata: Now She's Facing Murder Charges

The stakes have been raised against Jessica Tata, the owner of the daycare center where four children died in a fire.

Previously charged with manslaughter, now Tata faces murder charges after court filings yesterday by the Harris County District Attorney's office.

The documents charge her with abandoning the children and exposing them to "an unreasonable risk of harm."

The felony charges each carry a sentence of five to 99 years, although probation would be possible.

Tata has hired Mike DeGeurin as her attorney; he previously has said Tata fought to save the kids.

"She broke windows with her hands, bloodied her arms. She crawled in twice," he told reporters when Tata was first charged. "A third time in is when she passed out, before the firemen got there. So, it was just a horror movie going on."

Video footage shows Tata at a Walmart just before the fatal fire last month.

After the blaze, and after being questioned by investigators, she flew to Nigeria. She is now in jail until she makes a $200,000 bond on each of the four charges.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly