NOTE: The following article is unavoidably long. It addresses the allegations made by Dick DeGuerin and Stan Schneider in their defense of David Temple. Most trial cases (especially murder cases) can't be fit into a sound byte or a short news article. Some can't even be adequately addressed in a full-length documentary. This article is for those who are interested in reading the facts behind David Temple's murder of Belinda Temple and they have a lot of detail to them.
It has been a little less than three weeks since Dick DeGuerin and Stanley Schneider filed their "Out of Time Motion for New Trial or Alternative Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus Based on Actual Innocence, Newly Discovered Evidence and Willful Suppression of Exculpatory Evidence" on the David Temple murder case. During the past few weeks, the Harris County District Attorney's Office has elected not to participate in the investigation of the Temple matter, opting to employee Special Prosecutor Brad Beers to handle the work.
As of this writing, David Temple's appeal is before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. It is my belief that the Court of Criminal Appeals has sole jurisdiction over the Temple case at the moment and that Dick and Stanley's "Out of Time Motion" was done more for a publicity stunt in the 178th District Court -- the idea being that the Out of Time Motion was to get some publicity that the justices of the Court of Criminal Appeals might pay attention to before they made their own ruling.
The Upper Administration of the D.A.'s Office seems content to sit silently by and allow DeGuerin and Schneider's allegations to remain unanswered. However, Kelly Siegler (who was the prosecutor that defeated DeGuerin in the Temple case) has spoken up with an affidavit filed in response.
In the affidavit, filed with the Court on Friday, Kelly addresses all of the allegations made by DeGuerin regarding everything from Temple's actual innocence to DeGuerin's claims of prosecutorial misconduct.
Here are some of the highlights:
Regarding DeGuerin's assertion that "unbeknownst to Temple or his lawyers until only recently, the State presented evidence concerning two possible suspects: Temple and Riley Joe Sanders."
Siegler points out that DeGuerin is basing the idea of the Harris County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) having a "second suspect" on the random statement of a Grand Juror that appears to have been taken out of context. Furthermore, she points out that DeGuerin claiming that his "alternate suspect" Mr. Sanders was newly discovered is disingenuous. She states:
What the defense leaves out is that Riley Joe Sanders voluntarily came forth to testify at the trial before the jury as the State's final rebuttal witness and voluntarily allowed himself to be cross-examined by Dick DeGuerin himself. Regarding this particular assertion, it is deplorable that now the defense wants to misrepresent to this Court that the prosecutors all along believed that Sanders was involved in the murder of Belinda Temple and that the trial prosecutors deliberately withheld that opinion.Regarding DeGuerin's assertions that an earlier Grand Jury "Failed to Indict" and that Siegler "shopped the case to multiple Grand Juries" before finally landing an indictment of Temple.
Siegler notes that DeGuerin has made numerous statements to the media and to the Court that a Grand Jury failed to indict Temple in 19999.
I repeatedly told Mr. DeGuerin that the initial grand jury investigation conducted by Ted Wilson and Donna Goode in 1999 was simply used to develop evidence and to present witnesses.
This case was presented for indictment to one and only one grand jury in February 2005, and that grand jury indicted David Temple.Regarding DeGuerin's assertions that the subject of his "Out of Time Motion" is his First witness to have allegedly overheard the "true killer" of Belinda Temple admit to the crime.
Siegler brings up that this new anonymous and "mystery witness" is not the first time DeGuerin has miraculously discovered a witness who was available to clear David Temple's good name. She points out that in January or February of 2005, DeGuerin found a witness from TDCJ named Michael David. Mr. David was apparently represented by a then-little known lawyer named Sean Buckley. Much like 2012's "mystery witness," he also claimed to have overheard someone else admitting to the murder of Belinda Temple.
It was this controversial bench warranting of witness David that led to DeGuerin and Buckley filing a grievance against Kelly Siegler, alleging, amongst other things, that she was "practicing law through use of an alias not referenced in State Bar records" because she no longer practiced law under her maiden name.
It is worth noting that shortly after the Temple trial concluded, Buckley went to work for DeGuerin, where he is still employed as of this writing.
The similarities to Mr. DeGuerin's "new witness of 2012" and inmate Michael David are interesting. Both claimed no personal knowledge of the murders, but claimed to have heard from an alternate suspect who admitted to the killing. Additionally, both mystery witnesses allegedly received death threats that necessitated them remaining anonymous.
Regarding DeGuerin's "Selective Recitation of the Facts and the Record"
This section of Siegler's affidavit is broken into several parts, addressing individual factual disputes. Some of the more interesting ones are as follows:
- DeGuerin's assertions regarding the crime scene on issues of blood spatter were directly controverted by the testimony of Harris County Medical Examiner Dwayne Wolf.
- The allegation that no biological matter or gunshot residue was found on David Temple or his clothing is simply false. A warm-up suit of David Temple, as well as his tennis shoes found at the foot of his bed in the master bedroom did have the presence of gunshot residue. NOTE: Judge Doug Shaver ruled that the evidence of the residue was not admissible during trial.
- The belief that there was no indication that David Temple ever owned a shotgun was controverted by witness Quinton Harlan, who testified that when "he helped move David Temple out of the house after the murder, he observed boxed shotgun shells and a hunting vest in the garage of the house."
- The assertion that the way glass was found at the scene had been caused by the rear door hitting a doorstop was refuted by DeGuerin's own expert witness, Max Courtney. Apparently, DeGuerin had represented different dimensions of the breakfront in the Temple home to his expert. Once Mr. Courtney had the actual breakfront to observe, he negated Mr. DeGuerin's theory.
During the entirety of the time that I was at the Office, it was policy that if a defense attorney requested an Examining Trial, the State was to close the file to the defense attorney. Siegler states:
The charges were on David Temple on the Monday following Thanksgiving of 2004. The State's file was open and available to defense from that time until his Motion for an Examining Trial was filed two months later.
I had a discussion with Mr. DeGuerin where I asked him why he would file such a Motion if he knew the file would then be closed, and he told me not to tell him how to handle his case. It was his decision that caused the file to become closed.Regarding DeGuerin's Claim that they had no knowledge of the actual investigation of Riley Joe Sanders
Siegler notes that throughout DeGuerin and Schneider's new motion that they refer to Riley Joe Sanders and the "Katy boys" that he allegedly did burglaries with. They also assert that there were four statements in the offense report that they were unaware of that would have been considered to be exculpatory (Brady) material that they were entitled to know. In rebutting this, Siegler points to the testimony of HCSO Detective Charles Leithner who testified regarding Sanders and the "Katy boys."
In fact, Siegler asks the following rhetorical question in her affidavit:
Directing the Court to p. 5 of the trial transcript dated November 13, 2007, immediately before David Temple testified, Mr. DeGuerin is quoted as marking and offering for the record Defense Exhibit # 65, a copy of Detective Leithner's offense report. How can the defense now say they learned something "new" when he had this report at trial?Siegler additionally points out that Sanders voluntarily testified at trial and was there to answer every last question DeGuerin might have had at the time.
And finally . . .
Regarding the Defense's Assertion that they were not provided with Brady Evidence
The defense claims that "the prosecutor did not produce any reports, statements or documents relating to the 1999 investigation of Riley Joe Sanders III, prior to trial." She notes that those issues DeGuerin and Schneider are addressing are contained within Grand Jury transcripts, which require a Court Order to be turned over to the defense.
Siegler points out:
I provided not just one, but two different Judges, Judge Harmon and Judge Shaveer, with the grand jury testimony of all seventeen witnesses. Those transcripts provided include the Katy Boys . . .
. . . both Judge Harmon and Judge Shaver ruled that there was nothing Brady in all of the Grand Jury testimony.Judge David Mendoza of the 178th District Court will make a ruling at some point this week over whether or not he feels his court has proper jurisdiction over DeGuerin and Schneider's Motion. My guess is that he will rule that he does NOT, and let the Court of Criminal Appeals do the job that they are tasked with.
Either way, Siegler's affidavit certainly provides a different view to DeGuerin's assertions, and that may very well explain why a jury convicted David Temple and sentenced him to Life in prison in the first place.