A Georgia woman charged with three counts of felony murder and five counts of cruelty to children has been ordered to stay away from her two surviving children while she awaits her fate.
Prosecutor Mirna Andrews argued that on Dec. 12, Rockell Coleman, 28, left her kids alone while she went to dinner with friends. Coleman contends that the children were with a babysitter, although Coleman's oldest surviving son disputes this claim.
A fire erupted at Coleman's Decatur home, claiming the lives of three of her sons: Jabari, 3, Preston, 4, and Javis, 10—all of whom died from injuries they suffered in the fire, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Two of Coleman's sons survived: Shamari, 4, and A.J., 9.
Coleman's family argues that the fire was electrical, but prosecutors claim that there was no electricity running to the house when the fire occurred, and believe that the blaze started after Coleman's children began lighting leaves in a pan in the living room to stay warm. (It was 38 degrees outside that night.) Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire, according to 11 Alive.
Andrews claims that the children should not have contact with their mother because they are witnesses in the case, and the judge agreed. Andrews also noted that Coleman's oldest surviving child disputes his mother's account that there was a sitter present when the fire started. "The child was very clear that the mother not only left them alone that night but has left them alone on previous nights," Andrews told the judge, 11 Alive reports.
Coleman's mother, Lydia Pinckney, told the news station after court proceedings that the story the prosecution is pushing isn't true. "A lot of things that's coming out is not true; people need to learn that not everything somebody tells you is the truth," Pinckney said. "This is a traumatic experience. There is no reason why they cannot see their mother."
According to 11 Alive, although Coleman has been charged, she has not been indicted, and until a decision is made, the judge does not want Coleman seeing her children.