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Charlotte mom faced charge before fire killed children

Posted March 1, 2010

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— A Charlotte woman charged with murder after her two unsupervised toddlers died in a house fire was awaiting trial on a previous charge of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.

The Charlotte Observer reported Monday that Orgal Paulette Opata, 26, was accused in October on the delinquency charge. Further details of the allegation were not immediately available.

Opata was charged Sunday with murder and four counts of exposing a child to a fire. Her four children aged between 7 and 1 were at home alone when the fire started.

One-year-old Gabriel Hawthorne and 2-year-old Josiah Hawthorne died in the fire that destroyed the home.

Firefighters say the blaze was accidental and involved a kerosene heater.

Opata was on 3-year probation sentence for a 2007 drug possession conviction in Guilford County, according to state Department of Correction records. She also served six months in prison after violating probation from a 2001 larceny conviction.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer

33 Comments

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  • wildcat Mar 1, 2010

    JUST PRAY. SHE IS NOT THE ONLY MOTHER WHO NEGLECTED THEIR CHILDREN. KEEP PRAYING FOR ALL.

  • wildcat Mar 1, 2010

    This is terrible! The mother thought it was more important to party than be at home with her children. She got what she deserved - murder charges. May she see life in prison for her carelessness. May other young mothers learn from this tragedy.

  • BraveHeart Mar 1, 2010

    very sad story...I feel sorry for the children....for the mother I hope she gets all whats coming to her

  • Joani P. Mar 1, 2010

    If the correct action was taken in the first place those babies would still be alive, and not have suffered a horrible death!

  • SouthernLady05 Mar 1, 2010

    I would like to add that Sched II possession includes: opium, cocaine, methadone, methamphetamines, and amphetamines.

  • dare107 Mar 1, 2010

    This is a perfect example of the failing to do what is needed. It is time that these do gooders need to stop with this we try to keep the family together!! They are together now! I would be willing to bet that Mom has a drug habit!! This is why I adovcate manditory drug testing for everyone on welfare!! And if Obama wanted a change now there is change!!

  • affirmativediversity Mar 1, 2010

    "WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR AUTHORITIES TO STEP IN TO PROTECT CHILDREN?"

    -----------------

    Generally it takes one of the children being hospitalized or killed (unfortunately)...

    and that interest only extends to the remaining/existing children NOT any future/as yet born children...newborns = a clean slate.

  • affirmativediversity Mar 1, 2010

    "im guessing her kids were still in her custody because her drug offense was a minor one, and ppl dont lose custody of their kids over a little bit of weed and petty theft."

    -----------------------

    In North Carolina people don't lose their kids over a lot of weed or crack or meth and grand theft...not even if their kids watch them do it!

  • dholes Mar 1, 2010

    "WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR AUTHORITIES TO STEP IN TO PROTECT CHILDREN?"

    Typical -- blame it on someone else.

  • SouthernLady05 Mar 1, 2010

    "im guessing her kids were still in her custody because her drug offense was a minor one, and ppl dont lose custody of their kids over a little bit of weed and petty theft."

    She's a convicted Felon, which this article doesn't say. Her larceny as well as her drug charges (Sched II) are felonies. You can view her criminal history here:
    http://webapps6.doc.state.nc.us/opi/offendersearch.do?method=view

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