A daycare operator in Austin is currently on trial for the murder of four children at the daycare operation she ran out of her home. Jessica Tata was cooking a pan of oil on the stove, according to the prosecution’s case against her, when she left the children at her daycare unsupervised to go to the store to pick up groceries. While she was gone, the oil caught on fire, killing four children and injuring several others. Her defense attorneys argue that it was a mechanical defect that caused the fire to occur.
I don’t know the details of this case well enough to provide a fully informed assessment of where I stand on this, but at least a cursory examination of the situation gives me a lot of reason to think that the verdict shouldn’t be too hard for the jury to make. Anyone who leaves a pan of oil burning on a stove in a house where any children are unattended, let alone as many as were in her care, is at the very least grossly negligent, and if a criminal prosecutor can’t secure a guilty verdict against her, an Austin employment attorney should be able to prove negligence in a civil case. When that negligence causes the loss of innocent lives, that person needs to be held accountable for their actions.