Thursday, June 21, 2007
"She's A Good Mother. It's A Freak Accident."
Friends Shakita Mangham and Fuhara Love left their seven children home alone, well past midnight, while they had drinks at a neighborhood bar. Authorities think the two oldest children, both only eight years old, set the house on fire while playing with matches. The 8-year-olds were able to escape the burning house. The five younger children were not as fortunate and all perished. They were trapped behind a bedroom door which may have been locked from the outside.
As the women returned home to find the house ablaze and their children dead, Mangham had the presence of mind to lie to authorities about a non-existent babysitter who was supposed to be watching the children. Neighbors immediately discounted the babysitter story, telling police that the children were often left alone while the “mothers” frequented the bar.
Absolutely heartbreaking but unfortunately nowhere near the end of the ugliness:
“Who is responsible? This city has been responsible for people living in poverty for years and years. How can you arrest and prosecute these women for neglect, and you won’t prosecute the past leaders of this city for neglect? It’s a shame on the whole of Pittsburgh.”
--- Jibril Abdul-Hafeez, community activist
“What does it matter? Five angels died! Who cares what happened and how it happened and when it happened? It’s our children who have died …”
--- Rev. William H. Curtis, addressing mourners at the funeral for the children.
“She’s not responsible for what happened. A fire broke out. She didn’t set that fire. She may have wanted to be there when the fire started, but even if she were there, the children might not have lived. In other words, just because a parent is in the home doesn’t mean the children can’t be in the basement doing some mischief. You have a loving parent who did something she regrets, but she didn’t kill the children.”
---- Ernest Sharif, Love’s attorney on why his client should not be charged with homicide.
“She’s a good mother. It’s a freak accident.”
---Sheila Ward, Mangham’s mother and owner of the burned house.
Ms. Mangham is a certified nursing assistant. Ms. Love is a senior student of criminology at Point Park University. Both must therefore have the intellect to know better. As should those who've made the appalling excuses on their behalf.