Mother of 4 children killed in fire in Hartsville pleads to unla - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

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Mother of 4 children killed in fire in Hartsville pleads to unlawful neglect charges

Hope Kaneshia Hawkins (Source: Darlington County Detention Center) Hope Kaneshia Hawkins (Source: Darlington County Detention Center)
Camaron Hawkins, 3, twin 10-month-old girls My'asia and Ky'nasia Hawkins. (Photo from the Hawkins family) Camaron Hawkins, 3, twin 10-month-old girls My'asia and Ky'nasia Hawkins. (Photo from the Hawkins family)
Delonta Dixon, 4 years old, was found dead after a mobile home fire in Hartsville Wednesday. Provided by the family Delonta Dixon, 4 years old, was found dead after a mobile home fire in Hartsville Wednesday. Provided by the family
Hope Hawkins in court. Source: Conor McCue Hope Hawkins in court. Source: Conor McCue

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – The mother of four young children who were killed in a fire at a Hartsville home in April of 2013 pleaded no contest in a Darlington courtroom Wednesday to four charges of unlawful neglect of a child.

Hawkins did not plead guilty, but pleaded no contest, and agreed there is enough evidence to convict her in the deaths of her four children. After Hawkins pleaded no contest, representatives from the Attorney General's office and the State Law Enforcement Division presented case evidence to the judge. The judge held off on mitigation and sentencing for Hawkins until after a pre-sentence investigation. Under section 63-5-70 of the SC Code of Laws, a person charged with a felony count of unlawful conduct toward a child could face up to 10 years in prison for each offense, upon conviction.

Hawkins originally faced four counts of involuntary manslaughter, four counts of homicide by child abuse, and four counts of unlawful neglect of a child, according to court records. She could have seen a sentence of 20 years to life for each count of homicide by child abuse, court officials said. Hawkins was originally scheduled to appear in court at a trial on November 9.

Earlier this year, the fathers of the children filed a lawsuit against Hawkins and the Department of Social Services, alleging DSS knew the mother was unfit, and their malfeasance contributed to the deaths of the four children.

The fatal fire happened in April 24, 2013. The bodies of four young children were found in a Hartsville home.

The four children found dead were siblings. The family identified the children as four-year-old Delonta Dixon, two-year-old Camaron Mason, and twin 10-month-old girls My'asia and Ky'nasia Hawkins.

"They were beautiful. Two boys, two girls. When they come around, they just light up everything," Janice Hawkins, the childcare aunt said.

Related Links:

New trial date set for Hartsville mother charged after 4 children die in fire

Fathers of children killed in Hartsville fire file suits against mother, DSS

Mother of fire victims charged with homicide by child abuse

Attorney General to prosecute mother of Hartsville fire victims

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