In 1999, the small city of Katy, Texas, was rocked by murder. Belinda Temple, who was just a few weeks from giving birth to her second child, was shot dead in her home. Her husband, David Temple, and young son discovered her body, which lay in the couple's bedroom. The idea of a murderer being on the loose in the sleepy town had its residents living in extreme fear. But that was only the beginning of the story.
As more details of the crime and of Belinda's last living day emerged, it soon became clear that things were far more complicated than law enforcement could have fathomed.
What happened to Belinda Temple?
On Jan. 11, 1999, David called the police saying that he had returned from errands with his 3-year-old son, Evan, only to discover that Belinda was dead. He claimed that the couple's back door had been broken into, and the gate to their backyard was open.
David soon dropped his son off at a nearby neighbor's house to further investigate what was going on. His wife was lying face down on the floor of the couple's master closet. She was dead from a gunshot wound (from a shotgun) to the back of her head. She was eight months pregnant with a daughter that the couple planned to name Erin.
How did David Temple and his wife Belinda meet?
David Temple is a well-known name in Katy, Texas. He was a former high school football star, and, interestingly, the actress Renée Zellweger was even a cheerleader for his team.
David and Belinda's love story began in 1989 at Stephen F. Austin University and it was like a classic romantic comedy cliche. David Temple was a linebacker on the college's football team, earning him the nickname "Temple of Doom."
Belinda also was an athlete at the school, and the two soon bonded over sports. Within a year of dating, the couple got engaged after David proposed on the football field.
The two further cemented their commonalities by getting master's degrees in education. Belinda Temple gave birth to Evan in 1995 and the couple decided to raise their family in her husband's hometown of Katy. The couple announced that they were expecting again in the summer of 1998.
Here's a look at the series of events that unfolded just before Belinda Temple's death.
Belinda was working as a special education teacher at Katy High School, where her husband had attended years earlier, when Evan's daycare called her. They said that Evan was sick and needed to be picked up. Unable to leave work, Belinda called her husband, hoping that he could pick their son up (he was working as a teacher and football coach at another high school at the time).
She wasn't able to reach him, and he only began responding to her phone calls a few hours later. Belinda was apparently very frustrated at her husband, and she wasn't sure why he was absent from work. She brought Evan home, and went back to work once her husband arrived.
Though Evan was sick, David said that he took his son out to do some errands later that afternoon, leaving his wife at home alone. Several hours later, she was dead.
Initially, people though Belinda Temple was killed during a home invasion.
Upon first examination, the crime scene looked like a burglary gone wrong. The signs of forced entry led investigators to initially think that someone intended on robbing the house, but was interrupted by Belinda's unexpected presence. But authorities later began to suspect that the crime scene was staged. Nothing of value was missing from the home, and Belinda was found in the master closet.
But, surveillance video from cameras in Katy caught David running the errands he said he was doing during the time of the murder. It appeared like he wasn't involved.
However, after speaking with friends of the family, detectives soon discovered that the couple didn't have a happy marriage. David was cheating on his wife, and it was clear to Belinda's friends that he was incredibly controlling over her. But does a cheater make a murderer?
David's mistress was revealed to be Heather Scott. Their relationship had gotten way more serious in the weeks leading up to the murder. Within two years of his wife's murder, David married Heather. By 2004, he was arrested for his wife's murder after gunshot residue on her clothes matched the residue on his own clothes.
David Temple was convicted of first degree murder in 2007, while Heather Temple raised Evan. The ruling was then overturned in 2016 after someone claimed they heard the couple's neighbor confess to being the murderer. A new trial was then set for August 2019.
While a jury did rule that David was guilty during the retrial in 2019, a punishment couldn't be agreed upon. This left many wondering whether David would walk free.
Where is David Temple now?
After the court ruled another mistrial during the 2019 retrial for the murder of Belinda Temple, David remained incarcerated until his case could make it before another set of jurors. And in April 2023, it finally happened. David was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his pregnant wife, Fox 26 Houston reported. The prosecution believes David killed his wife in an effort to be with his mistress, who he has since divorced.
During the trial, several people close to Belinda were given the opportunity to speak their minds directly at David. "You're despicable. You're a piece of trash. You called our family white trash; look at you, David. I want you to think about this every day as you spend the rest of your life in prison, as you rot in hell," Belinda's brother Bryan Lucas said.