Mother whose sons died in fire is set for bond release
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A North Versailles woman whose two young sons died in a fire was granted bond Monday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
Kiaira Pollard, 27, will be released to electronic monitoring provided she has a job and is living at a location with a hard-wired telephone line, said Judge Jeffrey A. Manning.
Ms. Pollard, who has no criminal record, is charged with two counts of criminal homicide, endangering the welfare of children and tampering with a fire apparatus after a blaze June 30 in her home at Eastland Apartments.
Ms. Pollard left her two sons, KiDonn, 7 and KrisDon, 4, home alone when she went to work as an exotic dancer.
According to Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli, an air conditioner in the apartment malfunctioned and caught fire, trapping the boys.
Just a few days before the blaze, the prosecutor said, an inspector went to Ms. Pollard's apartment and saw that the smoke detector had been disconnected. The woman did that, Mr. Tranquilli said, because it would go off when she cooked.
An arson investigator checking the scene after the fire saw the detector had been disconnected again.
Because Ms. Pollard is not facing first- or second-degree murder -- and is charged only with a general count of criminal homicide -- Mr. Tranquilli did not object to a bond.
He said a jury would likely consider either third-degree murder, which requires malice, or involuntary manslaughter against Ms. Pollard.
"Do I think she locked her own children in this apartment to die in this horrible fire? Of course not," he said. But, he continued, "the decision she made was very reckless, and it does rise to the level of criminality."
There had been previous complaints about Ms. Pollard leaving her children home alone, Mr. Tranquilli said, but they were always made anonymously.
Defense attorney Blaine Jones said his client was a single mother who was doing the best she could.
"Kiaira is going through a tremendous amount of pain," Mr. Jones said. "She had two children and lost both of them. This case is difficult. You can't sugarcoat it."
His client needs to be released to be able to grieve for her children appropriately, he said.
"She'd like to be able go to the cemetery, go to their graves and pray over their bodies," Mr. Jones said. "She's in a lot of pain. She refers to them in the present tense."
First Published August 23, 2011 12:00 am