Sixteen family and friends of Jessica Ridgeway, all wore her favorite color, purple, in a Golden, Colo. courtroom on Friday, to show solidarity for the slain 10-year-old girl.
The man suspected of kidnapping and dismembering her, Austin Sigg, shocked those in the courtroom by entering a not-guilty plea. This stunned them because of earlier police testimony that he had confessed to the crime.
After the hearing, Stigg, 18, turned around to face Jessica's supporters as deputies handcuffed him. He smiled awkwardly at them.
A man accused of killing his two-year-old daughter by holding her down in scalding water was found guilty Thursday.
Charles Bellamy, 27, seemed emotionless as jurors agreed with prosecutors that he be made to serve half of whatever sentence is handed down before he is eligible for parole, and that probation be taken off the table in the death of Jaz'mine Howard (shown here).
Joy Howard, the toddler's mother, had to be helped out of the courtroom after closing arguments during which one of the prosecutors described how Jaz'mine must have fought the tortuous death she endured on March 15, 2011.
The father of a 2-year-old girl who soiled herself held the girl down in a bathtub filled with scalding water that caused burns to more than 30 percent of her body, according to court testimony Wednesday.
Charles Bellamy (shown here) is being tried on murder charges in the death of his daughter, Jaz'mine, in 2011.
Nizam Peerwani, the Tarrant County medical examiner, testified that the burn pattern indicates that the child struggled to escape the scalding water.
"These immersion burns are very painful," he said. "As the heat continues, the skin begins to peel off."
A 24-year-old Houston woman was convicted of murder Tuesday in the death of one of four children who died in a fire at her home day care after she left them alone with hot oil on the stove while she shopped at Target.
Jurors found Jessica Tata guilty of one count of felony murder after deliberating for about six hours over two days.
Prosecution witnesses told jurors that Tata was convicted of arson as a juvenile. Witnesses said Tata started two bathroom fires on the same day in 2002 at her suburban Houston high school. The then-ninth-grader pleaded guilty in juvenile court to at least one arson count and was given probation.
"She was a bad and evil person," said Robert Gex, who was the high school's assistant principal. He told jurors Tata was troublesome even before the fires.
Trauma was inflicted on a teenage girl whose body was found Tuesday inside a storage trunk on a rural road in Van Zandt County east of Dallas, officials said Wednesday.
Alicia Chanta Moore, 16, was identified by the Dallas County medical examiner. She was last seen getting off a school bus in Greenville, The Associated Press reported.
A road crew on Tuesday found her body in a trunk sitting on a farm-to-market road near Wills Point, which is about 35 miles south of Greenville.
Greenville Police Chief Dan Busken said during a news conference Wednesday that Moore’s body suffered trauma and that her death is being investigated as a homicide by the Greenville police, Texas Rangers and Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Department.
But investigators did not specify what type of trauma, and they did not have a suspect on Wednesday.
According to broadcast news reports, Busken said that an Amber Alert was not issued because Moore’s disappearance had not met the criteria necessary to issue the alert. For example, officers did not know for sure that she was abducted.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us with this investigation," said Busken in an article from NBCdfw. "We have received many tips from the community and we hope those tips continue to come in ... we must have cooperation from the community to do our jobs."
Greg Janda and Randy McIlwain contributed to the NBC 5 report. Read it here.
The fire that killed four young children and seriously injured three others at a home day-care facility in Houston began when oil ignited inside a frying pan on a stove top burner that had been left on.
Testimony is expected to begin this week in the trial of Jessica Tata, 24, (shown here) who fled to Nigeria after the February 2011 blaze but was later captured by authorities.
Attorneys for the day care's owner insist that she never meant to harm anyone.
But Philip Hilder, a Houston criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, said that while he doesn't think Tata intended to kill the children, that won't be the key issue at her trial.
"It's going to be hard to find a legitimate reason to excuse the abandonment of these children," Hilder said.
Houston serial killer Dean Corll kidnapped and tortured more than two dozen teen-age boys before he was murdered by accomplices in 1973, the Houston Chronicle reports. Remains of two victims had gone decades without being identified. But forensic scientists recently identified one of the victims as a Houston teen who disappeared after he left for work at a store. Corll, also known as Candy Man, murdered at least 28 boys. Radford University complied an interesting timeline of the mass murderer's life. Earlier this year, Texas Monthly published a detailed look at another of the "lost boys" victims of the Houston man. -- Lois Norder