Temple trial continues in Houston
Judge will rule if jury can hear claim weapon was once aimed at brother
By BRIAN ROGERS
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
A judge today is expected to decide whether jurors in the David Mark Temple murder trial will hear evidence that he pulled a shotgun on his brother in 1984, 15 years before his pregnant wife was killed by a shotgun blast to the head.
Visiting state District Judge Doug Shaver will hear arguments from prosecutors and defense lawyers about the relevance and truthfulness of the information.
In testimony outside the presence of the jury, Temple's older brother, Darren, said the incident never happened.
"You didn't tell your girlfriend at the time that David Temple's eyes were big and round as he backed you into a corner with a shotgun and you thought he was going to kill you?" asked Assistant District Attorney Kelly Siegler.
"Never happened," Darren Temple said.
Belinda Tracie Temple died Jan. 11, 1999, after being shot in the couple's Katy home. Accused of murder, David Temple told police a burglar killed her.
Investigators suspected the burglary was staged, then learned that the former football coach was having an affair with another teacher. He later married his mistress, Heather Scott.
After jurors adjourned, Siegler painted a picture of the Temple home in 1984 for the judge to decide relevancy. She said David Temple got into trouble for committing several burglaries in Katy, creating tension between his parents.
Siegler said she expects to present evidence that David, then about 16, and his mother were arguing about the crimes. Darren, who is older than David by three years, got between them and argued with David.
One of Darren's ex-girlfriends is expected to say that Darren told her the argument was so heated that David picked up a shotgun, put it in Darren's face and backed him into a corner.
With Maureen Temple crying and Darren Temple begging David to put the shotgun down, David never said anything, Siegler said. After a few tense moments, David put the shotgun down and walked out of the room wordlessly, Siegler said.
On the stand Wednesday, Darren Temple denied the entire incident, as did Temple's attorney, Dick DeGuerin.
DeGuerin is expected to argue that the incident didn't happen, isn't relevant and the controversy shouldn't be heard by jurors because David Temple was a juvenile.
Darren Temple and Siegler fought through the afternoon about his testimony Wednesday and his grand jury testimony in 1999.
In testimony Siegler dubbed a "Bill Clinton," Darren said "unfaithful" was different than having an affair. He said sex did not define unfaithfulness.
On the witness stand, he said David told the Temple family two days after the shooting that he was unfaithful to Belinda. Months after the shooting he said he didn't know about any affair and denied any knowledge of it.
Earlier in the day, in equal parts emotional and combative, David Temple's father testified about his daughter-in-law's life and death.
Charles Kenneth Temple's voice cracked and he began to break down as he testified that Belinda Temple's murder devastated the Temple family.
"It was like suddenly a fog had hit, like being in a daze, an out-of-body experience," he said of learning at the scene of the crime that Belinda had been killed.
He said David Temple was barely able to get the sentences out about the shooting.
On cross-examination, Siegler fought with him until he agreed to each of her points.
"Would an affair disrupt the harmony of a marriage?"
"When David Temple was a teenager, you had difficulty disciplining him yourself?"
"You were upset that David Temple left her alone when she was eight months pregnant?"
Appearing exasperated, Charles Temple stopped the questions and asked the judge, "Haven't I said 'yes' enough?"
Shaver answered, "You're going to listen to all of her questions and you're going to answer all of her questions."