Charges filed against sisters whose kids died in fire

July 2, 2010 7:07:28 PM PDT
Prosecutors have decided to file criminal charges against the two Fairfield sisters whose four young children were killed in an April apartment fire.

Police say the children were left in an apartment, unsupervised, with candles burning.

The Solano County district attorney will charge Shetarra James and her sister Letisha, who have not turned themselves in, with four counts of child endangerment and four counts of manslaughter.

The charges stem from a fire in late April which killed their four children.

"We are hopeful that they'll just call us up and want to turn themselves in and move forward with the court proceedings," Lt. Darrin Moody from the Fairfield Police Department said.

The sisters told police they had left the apartment to charge a cell phone outside in their car. According to investigators, the power had been turned off in the apartment and candles were being used.

"You leave your house once in a while but do you leave you house in the care of a young child with no electricity in your house for 30 minutes sitting in strollers? Lt. Darrin Moody Said.

But in an interview shortly after the fire, Shetarra James denied having any lit candles.

"I love my children, I wish they were here. There were no candles that were lit. True enough we were without PG&E, but we were working on that," she said on April 30, 2010.

She lost three children that night. Firefighters responded to the blaze at 728 Delaware Street. When they arrived, they found an apartment filled with fire and smoke and firefighters could not rescue the children.

One of the children was taken to the hospital but died. The other three bodies were discovered inside the apartment. The ages of the children ranged in age from 10 months to 4 years.

Neighbor Pat Issa called 911 once she saw a big black plume.

"One of the ladies which was the mother, she came out and kept saying, 'my baby is in the apartment, my baby is in the apartment,' and then she acted like she was not there," she said.

If found guilty, each sister faces 26 years in a state prison and bail has been set at $250,000.


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