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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Abner Twins Face Triple Murder Charges After Arson Investigation

Abner Twins Face Triple Murder Charges After Arson Investigation
By Elaine Hirsch

After three Alabama toddlers died in a fire last Wednesday, police arrested their mothers. The twin sisters Akeevia Lajoseia Abner and Tekeevia Lajoseialan Abner face three counts each of reckless murder. The case is yet another that has master's degree pundits and online commentators up in arms about motherly murder.

The fatal blaze occurred Wednesday night after the Abner twins left their three children alone in their home. The parents were allegedly visiting a home several blocks away. Firefighters located the children around 8:00 PM and reported finding an open oven. The oven is suspected to be the cause of the blaze, according to the fire marshal's preliminary report. Two of the children were in the hallway while one was in the bedroom. Firefighters removed the children from the home and took them to Atmore Community Hospital, where they all died from smoke inhalation and burns.

After investigating the fire and its cause, the fire marshal arrested the mothers on Monday. The Abner twins are currently held while they await trial for the three counts of murder. At their hearing today, bail was set at $300,000 each. It's unlikely this amount will be met, so the sisters will probably remain in custody.

The Abner twins are eighteen years old, and accordingly will be tried as adults rather than as juveniles. The Alabama Penal Code states that murder occurring as a result of arson is a capital offense, which means the state of Alabama could ask juries to consider the death penalty for the twins if they are convicted.

The district attorney's office hasn't released any statement regarding whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty at this point. If the state doesn't choose to pursue the death penalty, the twins still face the possibility of three life sentences, as they are each charged with three separate counts of reckless murder.

The charge is reckless murder rather than the less severe manslaughter because district attorney Steve Billy believes the twins showed "grave indifference" toward their children's lives. The children's funerals were held this past Thursday.

It remains unclear whether evidence suggests the twins deliberately meant to kill their three children, but the charges of reckless murder indicate that will be prosecutors' argument.

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