The Shotgun

T

Update 4/24/17

No ruling has been made yet by the District Attorney’s office on whether David Temple will be retried for the murder of his wife Belinda and unborn child.  The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in late 2016 that he should get a new trial.

If you read any stories about David Temple, people are split on what they think.  The vast majority seem to think he is guilty.

I will repeat myself.   The key to the entire case lies with Cody Ellis, a close friend of Riley Joe Sanders, who in my mind is the murderer of Belinda Temple.

Bring Cody Ellis into the police station and grill him. He is probably afraid that he will be implicated in the murder as a co-conspirator by his connection to the shotgun.   Murder has no statute of limitations, but any other charges not directly connected to the murder or outlying charges connected to the murder are no longer applicable.

Tell him if he doesn’t want to reveal what happened, if Riley Joe Sanders is ever brought to trial and convicted, Cody Ellis will be brought to trial as well.  Tell him if he will reveal everything he knows, he will be given immunity and will never be tried for anything ever in this case.

I believe Cody Ellis had a lawyer after the trial, and wouldn’t talk to anybody.  Doesn’t that make some of these people who think David Temple is guilty of the murder feel that Cody Ellis has something very pertinent to this case he has not revealed.  Facts vary on this, but Kelly Siegler is the one who supposedly found that lawyer for him.

You can weigh all the evidence back and forth as people have done for years, but the one point that sticks in my mind is that prosecutor Kelly Siegler, for whatever reason, and this is my opinion, provided too much protection for Riley Joe Sanders and Cody Ellis, and never even considered them as being involved.

Why, Kelly Siegler, why did you do that, and why did Cody Ellis need a lawyer?

Original  Story Published 3/15/16

“Forty-eight Hours” covered the David Temple murder trial thoroughly on Saturday night. Sometimes there is so much information, it is hard to connect all the dots.

Let’s concentrate on the person and weapon that in my mind committed the murder, Riley Joe Sanders and a stolen shotgun. In my opinion Kelly Siegler, the prosecutor in the David Temple trial, in the most underhanded of circumstances, aided and abetted Riley Joe Sanders, and in the least of circumstances, turned a blind eye to the evidence implicating him.

Belinda Temple was killed in her own home by a shotgun blast to the face.

Riley Joe Sanders, sixteen at the time in 1999, who lived next door with his parents, had stolen his father’s shotgun.

Belinda was killed with a 12 gauge shotgun.

The shotgun Riley Joe Sanders had was a 12 gauge shotgun.

Belinda was killed with one shotgun blast of reloaded double-ought buck shot.

There was one empty shell in Riley Joe Sanders shotgun that had contained reloaded double-ought buckshot, and a second, unfired shell with reloaded double-ought buck shot.

Ballistics cannot be used in the shooting of a shotgun as it is in the striations of a hand gun as the bullet travels along the barrel after being fired.

However, the two shells in the shotgun, one fired and one not were reloaded shells. For you not familiar with the term, the shell is fired and is saved for reloading so that it can be fired again. This is money saving, because new shells are more expensive than reloaded shells.

Why didn’t the police examine the double-ought buck shot found in Belinda’s face and the double-ought buck shot unfired shell in Riley Joe Sanders’ shotgun to see if there were similarities in the buck shot. I’ll stake my reputation there were.

Riley Joe Sanders asked the friend that was with him that day, Cody Ellis, to hide the shotgun for him after it had been fired, but still have the spent shell in the barrel, along with an unfired shell. His friend hid it under his bed.  The jury in David Temple’s trial never heard that because it was buried in the information Kelly Siegler only gave to the defense attorney while the trial was in progress. Hundreds of pages of police reports that had not been reviewed by the defense prior to the start of the trial, because Kelly Siegler had not turned them over to the defense.

And who made the decision about what was exculpatory to David Temple, and condemning to Riley Joe Sanders in those police reports? Kelly Siegler.

Kelly Siegler said that Riley Joe Sanders respected Belinda Temple, who was a teacher of special education at the high school. Really?

Belinda reported to Riley Joe Sanders family the numerous times that Riley Joe Sanders was absent from school. She also complained to his family about Riley Joe Sanders and his friends leaving broken beer bottles and other debris on her lawn.

Riley Joe Sanders was the last witness that Kelly Siegler called in the murder trial against David Temple. He said he had nothing to do with Belinda’s murder. Kelly Siegler praised Riley Joe Sanders on “48 Hours” for voluntarily coming forward to testify. She said his words and actions proved he was telling the truth.

Riley Joe Sanders at that time had failed three polygraph tests about the murder, and Kelly Siegler knew it. Some of Riley Joe Sanders friends had failed polygraph tests. Kelly Siegler knew that. Riley Joe Sanders said he was in school that day. That was a lie. He said he drove around all day with his friends, and smoked marijuana. I believe the portion of his story where he said he smoked marijuana.

After David Temple was convicted of murder, the lead investigator for the district attorney’s office Steve Clappart went to work for the new defense attorneys in David Temple’s case. The defense attorneys were attempting to get David Temple a new trial.

Clappart read the 1,300 pages of police reports that Kelly Siegler had not turned over to David Temple’s original attorney until the trial was going on. He became convinced that David Temple was not guilty.

He did two things while working for the district attorney’s office. He took Riley Joe Sanders to the airport after the trial was over. The second thing is the most telling of all. Kelly Siegler asked him to ship Riley Joe Sanders shotgun to him after the trial because he was living in Arkansas at the time.

How did the police department in Katy, Texas have possession of the shotgun? A deputy had it. How did he get it? Kelly Siegler said nobody knows, because the deputy did not file an additional report. The potential murder weapon, and the deputy did not file a report about it? Does this sound like more suppression of evidence to you?

When Kelly Siegler was no longer a prosecutor and heard that Steve Clappart wanted to talk to Riley Joe Sanders and Cody Ellis about the shotgun, she found both of them lawyers, and Steve Clappart could not talk to them because of their lawyers. An ex-prosecutor finding a potential suspect in the case and his friend who hid a 12 gauge shotgun on the day of the murder, and she finds them a lawyer. I’ve never heard of that.

Steve Clappart did find that a few days before Belinda was murdered a burglary occurred just a short distance away from the Temple home, and that some of Riley Joe Sanders’ friends were involved. And the scene of that burglary was much like the scene at the Temple home.

Another person who knew Riley Joe Sanders came forward after the trial to tell that Riley Joe Sanders told him of a burglary he had been involved in that went very wrong.

David Temple would have never been convicted if he had not been having an affair while Belinda was nine months pregnant. Kelly Siegler hounded and hounded on that in court. David Temple admitted he was wrong for doing that, but he did not kill his wife. He did marry the lady he had had an affair with a year and a half after Belinda’s death. She raised David and Belinda’s son after David was convicted in 2007. The son was 12 at the time.

Kelly Siegler, other than having a mistress for David Temple, had three points of contention in his trial. The Temple dog would have attacked and bitten Riley Joe Sanders.

Riley Joe Sanders admitted in grand jury testimony the Temple’s dog would bark if he was cutting grass, but otherwise would just come over and sniff at him.

The forensics detective said he thought the scene looked like a staged burglary because of the way the glass shattered from the door.

He did not account for the rush into the house by David Temple when he found his house had been broken into.

The timeline. Kelly Siegler said Belinda was shot at 4 P. M. when she returned home from school. One of the teachers at the high school saw her between 3:20 and 3:30 at the school, and Belinda made a call to David at 3:32. Belinda could not have driven home and been there at 4 P. M.

Two young boys who lived in a house behind the Temples said they heard a loud bang. They had started watching the movie “Dr. Doolittle” on TV at 4:00 and knew exactly where in the movie they heard the shot. It was 4:30. Oddly enough that is the time Riley Joe Sanders said he arrived home that day.

David Temple and his young four-year old son were several miles away at 4:30 being shown on a video in a grocery store.

The judge who heard the evidence the new attorneys gave, said David Temple should get a new trial. It is before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to issue the final decision.

The judge said there were 36 points of info that Kelly Siegler should have provided to the defense before the trial began. Kelly Siegler said the judge is ridiculous.

As for me, I’d find Cody Ellis, the fellow who hid Riley Joe Sanders shotgun on the day of Belinda Temple’s murder. I’d sit on his tail, waiting for the least law that he broke, and haul him off to jail, and I would keep doing it. In my opinion he hid the murder weapon, and he knew it was the murder weapon. He could be up to serve a few years for that, if it is ever proven that Riley Joe Sanders shotgun is the murder weapon. I’d give him one chance for immunity for hiding the shotgun if he would tell what he knows about the murder. If not and the case is ever proven against Riley Joe Sanders, I would guarantee him he would be put in jail for participating in a conspiracy to commit murder and for hiding the gun.

Sit there Cody Ellis in silence, but know there is always that possibility you will go to jail for a very long time.

Take a sip of wine or whatever you drink Kelly Siegler, and know how ridiculous you look now, and know you never turned your prosecutorial eye toward Riley Joe Sanders.

And Riley Joe Sanders? I only wish I knew a hit man.

If any of you law abiding citizens know Riley Joe Sanders or Cody Ellis, ask them about the shotgun, about the murder. You won’t get any answers, but look at their reactions, and tell me what you think.

And if David Temple is granted a new trial, his attorneys will be armed with all the info about Riley Joe Sanders and Cody Ellis, and this time they will be ready.

I look for Cody Ellis to crack on the stand, and reveal everything.

At the new trial for David Temple, if I were the defense lawyers, I would call Riley Joe Sanders’ shotgun as a witness, as a hostile witness. As a hostile witness, I would have more latitude about asking questions.

26 comments

  • You got the very first pertinent fact of the case wrong. Belinda Temple was not killed by a shotgun blast to the face. She was killed by a shotgun blast to the back of the head.

    • Thanks for your comment. If you feel comfortable that is the case, then I will go with your fact.

      I generally read everything I can find on a case, plus anything I might have seen on TV, plus if the case has gone to court, and the court records are available. Court records are very boring and seem to go on forever and ever. Sometimes there is a hidden fact or two in them that might contradict what is out there. That doesn’t mean it’s always true. It might be the murderer’s describing something, and be a total lie.

      As you can see, sometimes there are conflicting stories, and it is not easy to separate fact from fiction.

      When a reader comes along with a correction, I always welcome that, and know that the reader is attentive to what I have written.

      As for me, I consider the fact that she was dead is the first pertinent fact in the case.

  • You are quite welcome and for the record, here it is in print from a Houston Chronicle writer for the Texas Dictrict and County Attorneys Association. I am cutting and pasting the paragraph and including the URL.

    I have been familiar with the case for many years, that is my reason for picking up on that detail so quickly. For the record, some of the best informational writing on the case I have seen to date was done by the Houston Press, by a writer named Craig Malisow, I am including a link to that too.

    But one week after the couple’s seventh wedding anniversary, their seemingly idyllic home life was shattered when Belinda Temple, eight months pregnant with their second child, was found shot in the back of the head in the master bedroom closet of their home at 22502 Round Valley off South Mason Road.
    http://www.tdcaa.com/node/1237

    http://www.houstonpress.com/news/unreasonable-doubt-did-kelly-siegler-really-railroad-an-innocent-man-eight-years-ago-7860329

    Thank you for including my correction in your column.

    • Thanks again to you.

      I intend to read everything you sent.

      I hope my readers will as well.

      Always such a pleasure to find a reader like you.

    • I tried to pull up that link, but could not, with the notation, “did not match any documents”. I use many sources for my stories, not just TV, and certainly did in this case. Two of the sources I used said Cody Ellis hid the shotgun on the day of the murder.Those were neutral sources, not having an opinion one way or the other on the case.

      I do not know what the person who wrote for the Houston Press said because of not being able to pull up the link. Was the writer convinced that David Temple did it? That seems to be what you are leaning toward. As a writer I can assure you if I decided to write a story where I was convinced a certain person committed the murder, by the time I finished with my story, my readers would be convinced that person committed the murder. Sometimes what is supposed to be a straight news story has too much bias in it disguised as news. That may have been the case in what the person who wrote for the Houston Press did. I have no idea.

      The evidence, not bias, I presented in my story is overwhelming that Riley Joe Sanders committed the murder.

      You are certainly entitled to your opinion, which I assume is that David Temple is guilty of the murder.

      I’ll stick with the evidence I have, and the day that Cody Ellis tells the truth about the murder.

    • The prosecutor in the case Kelly Siegler made sure Riley Joe Sanders and Cody Ellis had attorneys. How long did that take? Not a New York minute, but a Southern second. Steve Clappart was working for David Temple’s defense team at the time. Do you really think Steve Clappart would have learned anything in trying to talk to Sanders and Ellis through their attorneys? There was no law compelling Sanders and Ellis to talk to Steve Clappart before they had attorneys, and they certainly were not going to do so. Get real.

      • Thanks for your comment.

        I had my son, who at one time was a Deputy DA, to review this case.

        He was appalled at the amount of information that prosecutor Kelly Siegler withheld from the defense, and surprised that she was not cited for contempt of court and spent a weekend in jail, or maybe a whole week.

        My son said it should be obvious to everyone that she was hiding the information exculpatory to the defense because she did not have enough for a conviction.

        The judge who granted a new trial to Temple, it was a bench trial with no jury and the judge alone decides, had a wing of the penitentiary named after him. I think that’s indicative of the fact that he is hard on defendants in his court, yet he recommended to the Court of Criminal Appeals that a new trial for Temple should be granted.

        You are certainly entitled to agree with Rob.

        As for me, I will take the opinion of my son who has been through many criminal trials in which he was the prosecutor.

  • There is one thing that hardly anyone mentions regarding the two boys that were sure they heard a gunshot at 4:30. In looking at the placement of the two houses which were back to back from an aerial view, the scene of the crime was quite far from where they were watching tv and facing completely different directions. One thing that was much closer to them was the Temple’s back door which led into the house. They never mentioned having heard the glass breaking which would have been quite loud and would have happened probably within seconds of the gunshot. Were they even asked if they heard glass breaking? Yet if you look at the houses across the street where Temple said he took Evan, asked them to call 911, then ran back home, those people should have been the ones that would have heard the gunshot and glass breaking shortly before. Gunshots don’t usually echo to the back, they echo forward. Many of the people said they were home at 4:30, some outside, some inside, because they all had young school kids to take off the bus, get homework done, etc. Yet none of them heard anything like a gunshot or glass breaking. Kenlake Drive runs the entire length of the Roberts’ property. What they heard could easily have been a car backfiring. You hear them all the time in neighborhoods and sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between that and an actual gunshot. The fact that all those families were home at 4:30 and no one saw or heard a thing tells me that the murder happened much earlier. Add to that the fact Belinda was still wearing her shoes, and her glasses, and had not put the soup in the refrigerator. Those circumstances tell me she was killed very shortly after she arrived home. Her keys were on the stairwell landing which means she placed them there as she went upstairs. Why did she go upstairs before she even put the soup in the refrigerator??? Perhaps because someone was calling her up there to see something? Why did David not tell the police there was jewelry missing from the home and they found out about it on a news broadcast after he had already filed an insurance claim? Why did he tell them he was wearing his watch when he was out, but in a crime scene photo there is the watch laying right there in a tray? Why did David tell the police Belinda kept her purse in a closet?? I don’t know a woman alive who keeps the purse she is using in a closet, not one! Maybe the ones they are not using but certainly the one they were using would be kept out where they had quick access usually on a dresser or bathroom counter or maybe hanging on a bedroom door knob. Too much emphasis is being placed on the 4:30 possible gunshot, and the fact the neighbor kid may be a juvenile delinquent. I go by what is going on inside that house and what is found there, those facts cannot be disputed. If David did not own a 12 gauge shotgun why did he have 12 gauge shotgun shells in his garage that were seen by people who helped him move from the house after Belinda’s tragic death? Too many things do not add up about David’s story. He’s not getting a new trial because he was found innocent. He is getting a new trial because of prosecutorial misconduct called Brady violations. It’s not about innocence it’s about would the defense’s case have been structure differently had they known certain facts sooner. If you read Judge Gist’s 19 page ruling, he states very plainly that the appellant also had ineffective counsel (as in Deguerin) who did not do his due diligence either.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      People should read this. It is always best to read all of the information available whether you believe Temple is innocent or guilty.

      Some observations about your comment.

      Kelly Siegler seems to have been guilty of both malfeasance and misfeasance. Why did she go to that trouble when she had a very good reputation before this case?

      Where the gunshot sound went is hard to define depending on the acoustics. That’s about like saying depending on where a rattlesnake tail is pointed will render the sound in that direction. I’ve been in the woods, surrounded by trees where the rattles of a rattlesnake started singing, and I couldn’t see the snake. You cannot tell the direction the rattle is coming from.

      I cannot remember the last time I heard a car backfire.

      I can’t say that if my wife were murdered, and I didn’t do it, I would be methodical in my thinking for several days to come, or even months later. I would not be greatly concerned about what I remembered, right or wrong.

      Again, thanks for your comment. I always think it is necessary to add comments like this, you have come forward with information people may not be aware of.

  • Has anyone investigated if the DA. and Riley’s family has any connections? Without a doubt there are more corrupt cops and DAs in the US then there are honest ones.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      I do not believe there was any connection between Kelly Siegler and Riley Joe Sanders. I think Kelly wanted a conviction because she was convinced David Temple was guilty, and she was going to get it come hell or high water. I know of no other case where she went to the extremes like she did in this case

      You have no basis for saying, “There are more corrupt cops and DAs in the US than there are honest ones”. A broad brush general statement like that to me is never good. I’m in the business of dealing with facts to the extent I can find the truth, and I do not make statements like that.

      Before my son went into private practice, he was a Deputy DA, and I can assure you the DA would never have tolerated anything of the nature in the case of David Temple. If my son were going to seek a conviction from a jury, it would not be on non-disclosure of information the defense was entitled to.

      When I used to write for a local publication, I wrote about the police department in our municipality, and I can assure you they are some of the finest who ever put on the blue.

      You are entitled to your opinion. I think the possibility of finding a corrupt DA is very slim. No doubt there are some bad cops out there, but they are much in the minority. I think there are instances in the past where there were several police within a police department who were corrupt, but with the public awareness even that is becoming less and less.

      It is always good to hear from my readers. I like the feedback. I never know what comments I will receive. In one case I heard from the cousin of the murder victim who was very close to her cousin, and revealed information for my readers that only she knew. In one instance I heard from the Mother of the murder victim who thanked me for writing what I did for her daughter. I can assure you I take a long pause when I read comments like that, and know that is why I’m in this business.

      Again, thanks.

    • Riley’s home, clothes, everything was investigated and cleared. Sanders complied with the investigation. UNLIKE DAVID TEMPLE!

  • Wish you knew a hit man, huh? Interesting .. you have so many facts incorrect. Are you sure you’ve read all the facts? So, a man whose wife and unborn child were murdered and the husband doesn’t call the investigators not one time checking on the status???? If someone murdered your loved one wouldnt you want to find out who did it? Wouldn’t you want to know where they are on the investigation? Any leads, etc? There is no evidence on Sanders. That’s why Kelly dismissed him. If Dick D was so sure Sanders was the killer why didn’t he do more to try to convict him? AND If there was evidence on Sanders and Ellis then why aren’t they behind bars? They tried to get warrants out for them but there isn’t anything there so they can’t!!!!
    Also, everyone wants to make claim of these little kids who said they started watching the movie at 4, my son whose is 8 could never tell me what time he started watching a movie!! AND..the kids never said they heard the dog bark before they heard the bang! If David Temple didn’t murder her he sure as hell know who did!
    I would also like to add, Belinda’s family believes without a doubt that David murdered her. The actions of the Temples spoke volume after the murder. Hell the Lucas have no relationship with the only thing they have left of Belinda, Evan, the son. The Temples would not allow Evan to see or talk to them. Pretty sad and scetchy if you ask me. Could you imagine how hard it has been for them? And to know the mistress is raising him? How dare she have something to do with him and the Lucas! I can’t even imagine.

    • Most of the information you cite as facts was disseminated by the prosecutor Kelly Siegler. If you choose to believe her, that is your privilege.

      You might want to consider the fact that David Temple’s new defense team, and I repeat myself here from what I previously wrote, asked a judge to grant David Temple a new trial. This judge had a wing named after him in one of the penitentiaries, so I wouldn’t exactly say he is a defendant’s judge, cited over 30 examples of exculpatory evidence that Kelly Siegler withheld from the defense, evidence the judge said that may have proven David Temple’s innocence. The judge recommended to the Circuit Court that David Temple be granted a new trial.

      The best I can tell, you seem to be saying that you know more than the judge who heard the evidence. That is your privilege.

      Also Steve Clapper, the investigator for Kelly Siegler up to and including David Temple’s trial, is now working for David Temple’s new defense team. Was that just a whim on his part. Not exactly. He read the court transcript, and then he read a stack of about 6-7 inches of papers that was the info withheld by Kelly Siegler from the defense during the first trial. If you think Steve Clapper, equipped with all that information is wrong, that is your privilege.

      I never will defend David Temple for having a mistress. That was wrong by any moral standards.

      Thanks for your comments.

  • But you are pointing fingers at Sanders and Ellis based off of what? And you make a threat to Sanders? If there was something in there they would make an arrest.

    • Do you disbelieve that Belinda was being harassed by Riley Joe Sanders and some of his friends? That accusation came from her.

      Why did Riley Joe Sanders steal his father’s shotgun? To use it. You don’t take a shotgun to rob a convenience store. You don’t take a shotgun to rob a bank. They would be rather obvious by any onlookers and the police would be there in about two minutes.

      Why did Kelly Siegler have Steve Clapper ship the shotgun to Riley Joe Sanders?

      There were too many things that Kelly Siegler did that were not what a prosecutor normally does. I know that from what my son told me who in his first practice was a Deputy DA.

      Too much here to ignore.

      And for Kelly Siegler to say that Riley Joe Sanders was innocent because he co-operated, is one of the most preposterous criminal statements I have ever heard.

      If David Temple gets a new trial and a not guilty verdict is rendered, then no one stands charged and convicted of the murder of Belinda Temple. Where is the first place you would look for the killer?

      I have written many murder stories. I threaten killers all the time. I’m not intimidated by them. I’m looking for their conscience which seldom is there.

      Again, thanks for your comments. I know they took you a long time to write, and that is always encouraging to me that my readers would take the time and an interest in the case, whether I agree with them or not.

  • This is a whole bunch of nothing over a shotgun that was already at Ellis’ house prior to the murder and was still there three weeks later when he turned it over to police himself. It got there because they used it to go shooting. That’s what teenaged boys in small towns in Texas do. Wouldn’t he have gotten rid of it if it was indeed a murder weapon?
    There may be plenty of reasons to doubt the guilt of David Temple but the shotgun isn’t on the list once you know the actual facts. Also, about you saying you would ‘stake your reputation’ on there being similarities – the police did investigate and it was shown in court that the wadding from the shotgun shell used to kill Belinda was different than the wadding in Sanders’ dad’s gun and his home.
    Read the appeals court judge’s concurring opinion to reverse the guilty verdict. The information is all there – I’m sure you will read the whole thing but pay close attention to pages 6, 7 and 22-25.
    http://www.search.txcourts.gov/SearchMedia.aspx?MediaVersionID=27df13be-579a-47f3-a574-c508a5a92464&coa=coscca&DT=OPINION&MediaID=8ed49e9a-f500-4ea2-a480-ac83dad83c72

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Kelly Siegler withheld so much exculpatory evidence in the first trial, I have trouble believing that anything she said or any evidence she had in her possession(the wadding in the shot for example), or any any evidence she presented in court was all of what it appeared to be.

      I’ve said before, to me Kelly Siegler was hell bent and determined to prove David Temple was guilty.

      That is somewhat of a mystery to me, because from what I’ve been able to learn about her before that trial, she was an excellent prosecutor.

      Again thanks, and for the links. I am always interested in additional info.

      • All of that has come out now and you were correct about the hiding the gun and everything. Those are just people who want him to be guilty. I’ve seen a few cases with Kelly sieglar, almost every case she hid evidence and tried to railroad them. She’s a horrible woman ugh.