Motives for Murder

October 18, 2008

Tags: Tynesha Stewart, Timothy Shepherd, motives for murder, Kathryn Casey, Blood Lines, Shattered, David Temple, Belinda Temple

After a couple of decades covering sensational murder trials, I'm still stunned by many of the crimes. It's so hard to understand how one human being can do something so truly evil to another. I was reminded of that this past month, watching the Timothy Shepherd trial unfold in Houston.

The charge against Shepherd was murder. The victim: a beautiful young Texas A&M student named Tynesha Stewart. Shepherd committed one of the most heinous murders in the history of the city when he first strangled Stewart, then butchered her body and reduced it to ashes on his apartment barbecue grill. A disgusting crime committed for the most ridiculous of reasons. At his trial, Shepherd claimed that Stewart hadn't shown him the respect he deserved. Obviously, Timothy Shepherd doesn't deserve the respect of an insect, much less a human being. To this day, he's shown no remorse.

Perhaps the jury took that into consideration when they sentenced him to 99 years behind bars? I trust so.

This may seem an odd subject for my first blog, but as I mentioned above, I've spent quite a bit of time covering sensational murders. For the most part, I'm spurred by the desire to understand why people commit these terrible acts, what drives them to take the life of another human being. Surprisingly, as in Shepherd's case, it's often little more than ego.

I have to admit that I devour newspapers. For me, reading about such cases offers a continuing education in the human condition. When I'm not monitoring the headlines, I'm most often found at home at my computer, working on my latest book. Lately, I've been more than a little busy.

In September, I finished BLOOD LINES, the second in the Sarah Armstrong mystery series, scheduled for publication in summer 2009. It's a very different book than SINGULARITY, the first in the series. BLOOD LINES takes Sarah into the worlds of celebrity and big Texas oil money.

One book completed. One to go.

Now, I'm writing SHATTERED: A MOTHER'S LOVE, A HUSBAND'S BETRAYAL, AND A COLD-BLOODED TEXAS MURDER. The true story behind it is Houston's David Temple case. (For more info on any book, click on the titles in the left-hand column.) Writing days are long. I start early and finish late, doing my best to pay attention to the details. But I do love it.

So, here I am, writing my first blog on my website. To all of you, thanks for popping in to read it. I hope it's worthwhile. While you're here, let me know what it is you find most fascinating. Or leave a comment, just to let me know you dropped in.


  1. October 20, 2008 11:51 AM EDT
    Enjoyed the read! I'll be back.
    - Jim in Seattle
  2. October 22, 2008 4:22 PM EDT
    I live in Dallas but I heard about that Shepherd case and it was really upsetting. It's so hard to believe anyone could do that. Just terrible. I felt SO sorry for that poor girl's family!
    - Cindy A.
  3. October 28, 2008 11:41 PM EDT
    Why not do a book on the Casey Anthony case? I read your blog on it on Amazon. I agreed.
    - Beth B in Los Angeles
  4. November 20, 2008 11:42 PM EST
    I just watched a piece on TV called husbands who kill. They briefly went through the David Temple case. From what limited information in the piece, I'm shocked he was convicted, especially considering they only had circumstantial evidence. As a 20 year State Police officer, I've certainly seen some strange verdicts but, lacking evidence not shown in the show, it appears he was convicted of murder for having an affair. I would love to learn more of the case - especially since they said it only took the jury 8 hours to convict him.
    - Scott O.
  5. December 2, 2008 8:36 PM EST
    Hi Scott,

    The Temple case is a fascinating one. I'm hard at work on the book on the case. It'll be out next year. I'll update on when to start looking for it!
    - Kathryn Casey
  6. December 6, 2008 11:08 PM EST
    Shame on you Judge and Prosecutor!! The prosecutor should not be interested in winning a case but in finding just at the interest of both individuals...not manipulating the media or the jury with her legal speels and nonsense. Temples attorney was correct there is only evidence what so ever...merely circumstantial and you do not convict someone like that and then send them to prison for life. Shame on you Judge and Prosecutor for allowing a travisty of Justice in America!! We should be the example of justice not a mockery!!
    - William
  7. December 7, 2008 1:39 AM EST
    Justed watched 48 Hours Mystery tonight on the David Temple case. Can't wait to read your book!
    - Tonyia - Alabama
  8. December 7, 2008 4:33 AM EST
    The prosecutor in the David Temple case said "the truth lies in the details." David Temple is so obviously guilty, the details of the murder, even the way he set up his alibi and the 911 call where he begins, "I just walked in my house . . ." before giving the important info. Gee, he left his pregnant wife to go have sex with the woman he loved only some 11 days before, and told her how he loved her, and his wife shows up dead? He just happened to be with her, then left with his sick son for some unnecessary errands, and didn't bring his son in the house, brought the son to a neighbor's house. A staged robbery. And he sends flowers to his mistress a month later. Give me a break. I hope he quite literally rots in hell. I was horrified by what he did. Good luck with the book, I don't know how you'll paint him as the sociopath he is, with so few details from his own mouth, he certainly won't talk about what he did, but the evidence and timeline speak for themselves.
    - JDD
  9. December 7, 2008 1:53 PM EST
    The Temple case is an amazing one, and I'm not surprised that there are such disparate opinions. I'm writing as fast as I can! Hope the book helps to spell out some of the answers.
    - Kathryn Casey
  10. December 9, 2008 7:17 AM EST
    I can understand why some people think David Temple would be guilty. I am trying to draw my own opinion about it! It seems the rational conclusion that he is the murderer, but weirder things have happened. I mean, without any REAL evidence, it's hard to come to a conclusion, for me. With the forensics they have these days, it seems there would be a tiny shred of something, not just adultery. Can't wait to read the book to see if it will shed more light so I can stop wondering! HA! We may NEVER know for sure, unless the guy confesses. The gunshots WERE heard by those kids........etc etc.
    - B. Hanson
  11. December 22, 2008 12:55 PM EST
    I went to school where David Temple worked long before he started working there. I also now live in Katy, TX. I can't wait for your book. I know other teachers who knew David i'm very interested in your take on this horrible tragedy. Can't wait for your book!
    - LG
  12. September 24, 2009 9:21 PM EDT
    I work with someone who knew David Temple and Heather. that relationship was going on long before the is all I can say. He's a liar and a cold-blooded killer.
    - GL