Woman pleads guilty after North Braddock house fire kills twin sons

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Ky'heir and Dy'heir Arthur had been left home at least once before a fire killed both of the 3-year-old twins nearly 11 months ago.

A couple weeks before that fatal Jan. 4 fire, Dalawna Berran-Lett told police she left her sons unattended for 20 to 30 minutes while she walked to a store to buy rolling papers for marijuana.

When she returned to her rented home on Rebecca Street, North Braddock, smoke was pouring from the kitchen, and the boys were upstairs.

They had gotten a rack of ribs out of the freezer, put it on the stovetop and turned on the burner to cook them.

After the Jan. 4 fire, when investigators made their way through the burned wreckage of the house, they found that the blaze again had started in the kitchen, on a rear burner of the stove in a pan of cooking oil.

Two plastic chairs were melted to the floor in front of the stove. One of the boys' bodies was found downstairs. Another was upstairs.

On Monday, Ms. Berran-Lett pleaded guilty to two counts each of involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment.

Ms. Berran-Lett failed to show up for a court-ordered drug test after the plea and was apprehended by sheriff's deputies Monday afternoon in the Hill District, according to the sheriff's office.

She will be held in the county jail without bond until her sentencing Feb. 27 by Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski. The plea included no sentencing agreement.

Ms. Berran-Lett, 33, told police she left her sons home and watching TV when she locked the door and left about 2:45 p.m. She went to find her 15-year-old daughter, who she believed stole marijuana from her.

A contractor working in the area saw smoke about 3:30 p.m. and knocked on the door. No one answered, and he called 911. The house was ablaze when Ms. Berran-Lett returned there about 3:50 p.m.


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard. First Published December 2, 2013 12:33 PM


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