Mother of twins who died in North Braddock fire charged with involuntary manslaughter
A North Braddock woman admitted leaving her twins home alone for at least 20 minutes in late December before returning to find smoke coming out of the kitchen because the boys tried to cook ribs, Allegheny County police say.
Dalawna Berran-Lett, 32, made it home in time on that occasion, but she was too late when she left the 3-year-old boys — Ky'Heir D. Arthur and Dy'Heir Arthur — alone on Jan. 4 and returned to find they had died when the house caught fire, probably while they were cooking, authorities say.Berran-Lett, 32, was accompanied by her attorney, R. Blaine Jones II, when she surrendered at Allegheny County Police headquarters shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of children for the fatal fire.
She was awaiting arraignment in Night Court.
“I just received a copy of the criminal complaint and will have the opportunity to review the legal aspects of the case while allowing her to take the opportunity to try to heal,” Jones said. “She is in the state of complete shock. She just buried her babies on Saturday.”
Investigators have said that Dy'Heir — who died of burns and smoke inhalation — was found in the kitchen, and Ky'Heir — who died of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning — was found in a second-floor bedroom.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said last week the boys died in a grease fire.
According to the criminal complaint:
County detective Steve Hitchings learned that approximately two weeks before the fatal fire, Berran-Lett left the boys home alone and returned to find the house filled with smoke.
Berran-Lett told Hitchings that she needed to buy rolling paper to smoke marijuana and was gone for 20 to 30 minutes. She returned to find the twins watching television. She said they got a rack of ribs out of the freezer, placed them on the stove, turned on the burner and attempted to cook them.
She said on the day of the fatal fire, she suspected her 15-year-old daughter, who did not return home from school, had stolen her marijuana and a key. She told Hitchings she locked the boys inside the home and left at 2:45 p.m. to find the girl and get the marijuana. A passer-by spotted the fire about 3:30 p.m. and called 911.
Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Snow expected to taper off in Pittsburgh by mid-afternoon
- Steelers cornerback Taylor ready to swap earpiece for helmet
- 12-year-old rescues 4-year-old from burning house in Homestead
- Ehrhoff finding his way with Penguins
- Man charged with playing doctor for free Nemacolin stay
- North Hills native survives another week on ‘The Voice’
- Cancer didn’t stop mother from living for her son
- The Who bringing ‘final’ tour to Consol Energy Center
- Penguins notebook: Bennett status remains fluid
- DUI checkpoints take on dangerous drivers
- Murrysville athlete runs obstacle course for charity — 7 times