More than 17 years after the shooting death of his pregnant wife, former football coach David Temple walked out of the Harris County jail Wednesday and into the waiting arms of his family, ready to stand trial again if necessary for a murder he steadfastly maintains he didn’t commit.
Wearing a bright red shirt, Temple embraced his mother, father and two brothers, telling the media his release was possible only through God and the support of his family and attorneys.
“It’s been a long journey, and fortunately a portion of that journey has been completed,” Temple said. “We’re waiting for justice to be served, and for the people who put me there, who lied and cheated, be held accountable … .”
But Temple’s appellate attorney, Stan Schneider, cut him off, advising him not to speak further about the case.
Temple, 48, was released on a $30,000 bond and is set to appear in court Jan. 4 to show he will cooperate with any potential retrial or other proceedings. His conviction was overturned by the state’s highest criminal appeals court amid findings of prosecutorial misconduct.
Temple was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after a volatile trial that pitted prominent defense attorney Dick DeGuerin against legendary prosecutor Kelly Siegler, who later became the star of her own TV show.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals concluded last month that prosecutors withheld significant evidence from defense attorneys, including information about an alternative suspect. Siegler has defended her actions in the case but could not be reached for comment.
Incoming District Attorney Kim Ogg – who takes office next week – has indicated her office will review the case and decide whether to proceed with a new trial.
Temple was granted a new trial late last month, with the district court ruling that found prosecutorial misconduct coming down last July. It will be interesting to see how Kim Ogg handles this, as it’s not clear to me there’s an obviously correct path to follow. One could reasonably conclude that despite the misconduct findings, Temple is still guilty and should be tried again, this time with all of the known evidence available to the defense so there are no further questions about the DA’s behavior. One could also conclude that even if Temple did do it, the odds of convicting him now are too slim to be worth the investment of resources it would take to re-try him, and he did serve nine years so it’s not like he got away with it. I don’t envy Ogg the decision.
One more thing:
The appeals court ruled DeGuerin was denied access to approximately 1,400 pages of offense reports, including an investigation of another possible suspect – a teenage neighbor accused of stealing two shotguns similar to the one used in the murder.
It was the fifth time since 2015 that the state’s highest appeals court has ordered a review of murder convictions based on prosecutorial misconduct in the Harris County District Attorney’s office.
Emphasis mine. Whatever you think of Kim Ogg or Devon Anderson or Pat Lykos or whoever else, if at the end of her tenure we can say that the Court of Criminal Appeals did not question any of her murder convictions based on prosecutorial misconduct, she will have accomplished something significant. The Press has more.