CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A woman who was accused of abandoning her children who later died in a house fire pleaded guilty today at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
27-year-old Orgal Paulette Opata had faced murder charges but pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the deaths of 14-month-old Gabriel and 2-year-old Josiah Hawthorne. She also pleaded guilty to exposing children to fire and child abuse.
She apologized in court, but the father of those two children was not buying it.
Them babies, they didn t even have a chance to grow and mature. They didn t deserve none of this, said Jerry Hawthorne.
Investigators said Opata left the Rowan Street home with a friend on February 28, 2010. Firefighters were called to the home around 6 a.m.
Two of the four kids - ages 4 and 7 - escaped, but not Gabriel and Josiah.
Investigators believe the kids started playing with a portable kerosene heater which Opata had left on.
Opata was sentenced to 10 to 13 years in prison - not nearly enough according to the kids' father.
No, I didn t have too much to say after the incident. I couldn t bring myself to and being who I am I didn t want to be mean to her, said Hawthorne.
His mother, Alesia Greene - the grandmother of the victims - agrees. The time she got, she got a long time to think about what s she s done. It should have been longer, she said.