Local News

Charlotte mom faced charge before fire killed children

Posted March 1, 2010 7:05 a.m. EST
Updated March 1, 2010 8:41 a.m. EST

— 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