Judge sentences mom to life in prison for fire that killed her two children

Sharon Hinojosa
AP Images

(CBS/AP) DETROIT - A judge sentenced a mother to life in prison Wednesday for setting a fire that trapped and killed two of her children in a mobile home.

The judge called Sharon Hinojosa's 2009 crime "horrendous," during her sentencing. Hinojosa said the tragedy that killed her kids was an accident, but prosecutors say she set the fire in attempt to improve her relationship with a boyfriend, who was carried to safety by Hinojosa.

Earlier this month she was convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of children Anthony, 4, and Alayna, 3. Wayne County Circuit Judge Daniel Hathaway said Hinojosa's acts "constituted a complete betrayal of what being a mother stands for."

The 31-year-old defendant turned to the courtroom and apologized for her actions, saying she loved her kids. "You think you're mourning? I'm mourning, too," she said.

The children's relatives were present in court, upset over the mother's remarks. Alayna's grandmother, Denise Jones, said it was cowardly for Hinojosa to "disregard these children like a bag of garbage."

Jones said she hopes that while in prison, Hinojosa hears her children asking, "What did we do to you? to deserve an awful death."

Attorney Ira Harris read a statement on behalf of Anthony's grandparents and said, "Even wild animals would go to great lengths to protect their young."