Murder convict's lawyer calls DA's office 'schizophrenic'
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A convicted killer's legal team convinced a judge Wednesday to listen to new evidence, and weeks ago convinced the Harris County district attorney to hire a special prosecutor.
With those two wins in their pocket, David Temple's legal team now wants the DA's office thrown off the rest of the case entirely. It's the latest move in an effort to get Temple out of prison after he was convicted of murdering his wife, Belinda.
This, by now, is a 13 and a half year old murder case. But the alleged new evidence was apparently just discovered this summer. And on Wednesday, the defense team called the DA's office "schizophrenic" and tried to convince a judge to move the DA's office and all its case knowledge off the case.
For convicted killer David Temple's family this is about one thing -- "Freedom," as Temple's mother said as the elevator door closed.
"David Temple has been in prison for five years and he's an innocent man," said Dick DeGuerin, Temple's lawyer.
That's not what a jury said five years ago. And it's not what Belinda Temple's still grieving brother says now. We reached him by phone from north Texas.
"David Temple was found guilty and he needs to stay in the penitentiary for the rest of his life," Brian Lucas told us.
But Dick DeGuerin wants David Temple out now, and he's closer to that wish now than he's ever been. DeGuerin, Temple's original defense lawyer, assembled a team for this latest appeal that includes a former Harris County homicide chief who took the new evidence to an old colleague at the DA's office. Weeks later, the DA agreed to hire a special prosecutor. According to two DA sources, this is the first time DA Pat Lykos has ever done that during her four years in office.
"My role is as an outside, if you will, investigator," said special prosecutor Brad Beers.
And while that special prosecutor investigates the alleged new evidence and possibly charges two teenage burglary suspects with murder, DeGuerin Wednesday asked a judge to order the entire DA's office off the case, saying it can no longer be impartial. DeGuerin's team though would still be allowed to talk to the special prosecutor.
"I think the special prosecutor becomes an arm of the defense team," said Paul Doyle, Temple's lawyer.
The judge didn't rule on DeGuerin's request. All this is very different from virtually every other murder case ever tried in this courthouse. And this new path leaves the victim's family feeling trapped.
"I wish some day this would all just go away, this would end for the family. But I don't think it ever will," Brian Lucas said via phone.
The DA's office issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying it is handling the case appropriately. They're standing behind the conviction in the appeals courts while at the same time employing that special prosecutor to question it. Dick DeGuerin calls it "schizophrenic." In their statement, the DA's office calls it the right thing to establish the truth.
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