(STMW) — The mother of two young children killed in a West Englewood house fire when she left them 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 and her sister, Britany Meakens, had been accused of partying while Tatiana Meakens’ young children were left alone in their West Englewood home, which burst into flames in December 2012.
Jarvis Meakens, 2, and his sister Jariyah Meakens, 3, were killed in the 6400 block of South Paulina Street, 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 side bedroom window where Javaris and Jariyah were trapped, authorities said. Crews sawed off the bars from a basement window to try and 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 had 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 also 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 Cannon also sentenced her to five years in prison on July 12, according to the state’s attorney’s office.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)