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SHATTERED:


The True Story of a Mother's Love, a Husband's Betrayal, and a Cold-Blooded Texas Murder By Kathryn Casey

Harper True Crime, July 2010 ($7.99)
ISBN-10: 0061582026
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-158202-8

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Belinda Lucas Temple was a well-liked teacher at the local high school. Everyone liked her. She was the mother of a young son and eight months pregnant with a baby girl.

On January 11, 1999 in Creekstone, Texas, a Houston suburb, Belinda's body was discovered in a closet. What struck me most was that even though she was shot in the back of the head, point blank with a shotgun, presumably by her husband, or an inept burglar...and she was nearly ready to give birth to a daughter, Erin, I didn't find it upsetting or horrifying. I'm sure it was upsetting to her family and friends, but it didn't seem all that unique or unbelievable to me.

That says more about me than the crime, I guess. Too many husbands/boyfriends killing their pregnant wives/girlfriends these days...

Belinda's husband, David, was the prime suspect although he insisted it must have been a botched burglary.

It took 9 years to "catch" him. He didn't go anywhere. He just lied about where he was while his wife and unborn child were being slaughtered. And he lied, rather unconvincingly, about what had happened. His family lied to protect him. He was a jerk -- always had been. He was a jock, too -- high school football, college football, then a coach. He had a public persona that was all happy and normal...but it wasn't the real David Temple.

Remember, this incident was back in 1999 so it was "new" or "unusual" back then to even think a husband would harm his pregnant wife and unborn child. That was part of the problem. The police detectives and the prosecutors couldn't get him -- not until after the Staci Petersen case in the San Francisco Bay area -- because they had no evidence and didn't think a jury would convict him.

Ms. Casey brings the 8-year investigation to life for the reader. She details the struggle between family and friends, many of whom found it hard to believe in David Temple's guilt even as the depth of his betrayal was revealed to all. The reader will be able to consider the evidence, or lack of evidence, available to the police detectives as they examined the crime scene and during subsequent inquiries. The testimonies of the various witnesses during the court proceedings will add another dimension for the reader to ponder. Was justice served?

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