This is pretty messed up, I hadn't heard of it before.
Here's the gist of it:
An American mother is on trial for killing her
children. The chain of events: she set the family dog
on fire because her son was allergic to it. Burning
dog set fire house ablaze. The kids in it died.
and the full story:
Tequilla Fields fell to her knees, put her hand on his and wept.
"She said she swore on her kids' graves that she'd never tell," Pittsburgh homicide Detective J.R. Smith testified Tuesday, recalling how Fields confessed to him in February about her role in the deaths of her two young children 15 years ago in Homewood.
Fields, 34, and her friend, Lachan Russell, 30, had a "street pact" to keep their story quiet, but Fields was "relieved to finally be able to tell the truth" when Smith questioned her about the fire at her grandmother's Apple Street home.
The friends are accused of setting fire to Fay Lou, a German shepard-bloodhound mix, on the front porch. The burning dog ran into the house and set it on fire, killing Montelle Thornhill, 2, and Charita Thornhill, 3, on the morning of July 11, 1990.
The charred dog and Montelle, called "Man-Man" by his mother, were found in a second-story bedroom. Charita, called "Ri-Ri," was found beneath a third-story window. Both suffered severe burns and died of smoke inhalation, a pathologist from the Allegheny County Coroner's Office testified yesterday.
Fields, who was 18 at the time of the fire, and Russell, who was 15, are each charged with two counts of homicide.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer DiGiovanni called five witnesses, including a Pittsburgh police fire investigator who testified the fire was intentionally set. One of the children could be heard wailing in the background during a 911 call placed from inside the house.
Fields told police she was afraid that she and her children would have to move out of Minnie Nivens' house because her son was extremely allergic to the dog. Fields and Russell first tried to abandon the dog at Smithfield News, a Downtown convenience store, but the dog returned the next day. So she and Russell decided to burn Fay Lou to death.
Fields told police Russell doused the dog with kerosene while it was tied on the front porch. They planned to untie the dog and burn it away from the house before disposing of her remains in a nearby trash bin, Fields told police.
"But it didn't happen like that," Fields said in a taped interview played yesterday for the jury. "She never took the dog off the leash, and before I knew it all I could see was fire."
Defense attorney Bob Foreman told jurors that prosecutors would have to prove his client knew her children would die if she set the dog on fire. "The prosecution will not be able to prove that," he said.
Closing arguments are scheduled for this morning before Common Pleas Judge Lawrence J. O'Toole. Russell is awaiting trial.