Mom gets 5 years for leaving kids who died in fire home alone
BY MICHAEL LANSU Staff Reporter August 1, 2013 5:52PM
Tatiana Meakens | Cook County Sheriff's office photo
The mother of two young children killed in a fire when she left them home alone to go to a party pleaded guilty Thursday and was sentenced to five years in prison.
Tatiana Meakens pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment, and Judge Diane Cannon sentenced her to five years in prison, said Cook County State’s Attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.
Tatiana Meakens, 24, and her sister, Britany Meakens, were accused of partying while Tatiana Meakens’ young children were left alone in their West Englewood home last December. A fire broke out and Javaris Meakens, 2, and his sister Jariyah Meakens, 3, were killed in the home in the 6400 block of South Paulina, authorities said. Autopsies determined both died from carbon-monoxide intoxication and inhalation of smoke and soot, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said.
Prosecutors said there was no adult supervision when the fire erupted about 3:35 a.m. Dec. 22, 2012. The heat had been cut off in the apartment and a hot plate being used for heat in the apartment may have sparked the blaze on one of the coldest nights of the winter, authorities said.
Firefighters arrived to find flames shooting from a window of a bedroom where Javaris and Jariyah were trapped, authorities said. Crews sawed off the bars from a basement window to try to rescue the children, but it was too late.
A relative rescued two other boys — Darnell, 7, and Marquis, 4 — from the burning building. DCFS took custody of the surviving children.
Prosecutors said the women left the children alone while they attended separate parties. The women had agreed Tatiana Meakens would watch the children so her sister could attend a party.
But Tatiana Meakens later called her sister and said she was leaving to go to a party, court records show. Britany Meakens allegedly asked her not to leave the children home alone.
Britany Meakens, 22, also pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment and was sentenced her to five years in prison on July 12, according to the state’s attorney’s office.