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A Fairfield woman will not serve any more jail time for the deaths of her three young children and niece in an apartment fire in 2010, a judge ruled today. Calling her role in the April 28, 2010 fire a “terrible judgment error,” Solano County Superior Court Judge Peter Foor sentenced 25-year-old Shetarra James this morning to 10 years of felony probation.
A jury convicted James on Nov. 17, 2011 of four counts of involuntary manslaughter and four counts of felony child endangerment. James is set to be released today from Solano County Jail, where she has spent the last two years, defense attorney Amy Morton said. Prosecutor Karen Jensen this morning asked the court for a 24-year state prison sentence for James.
During the trial, Jensen said it was James’ negligent decision to leave her three young children, Robert Charles Jr., 4, Nevaeh Nunn, 2, and Keviana Morgan, 1, and her niece, 2-year-old Natalie Rogers in their enclosed Fairfield apartment with lit candles that caused their deaths. Foor also heard from five people who requested leniency for the defendant, including two jurors in the case and mental health experts who had worked with James.
Moments before handing down the sentence, the court also heard from James herself, who carefully read letters she had written to the four young children who perished in the blaze. Prosecutors in July dropped charges against James’ sister, Latisha James, who was also there during the fire, but said at the time that they still expected to prosecute her separately after Shetarra James’ trial had concluded.
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