Calling it a "horrendous" crime, a judge sentenced a Detroit-area mother to life in prison Wednesday for setting a fire that trapped and killed two of her children in a mobile home.
Sharon Hinojosa says the tragedy in Huron Township was an accident. But prosecutors accused her of intentionally setting the fire in a bid to improve her relationship with a boyfriend, the father of another child who escaped the blaze in Hinojosa's arms.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Daniel Hathaway said Hinojosa's acts in 2009 "constituted a complete betrayal of what being a mother stands for."
She was convicted earlier this month of first-degree murder in the deaths of son Anthony, 4, and daughter Alayna, 3. The judge said it was "horrendous" and "heinous."
Hinojosa, 31, turned to the courtroom gallery, apologized and said she loved her kids.
"You think you're mourning? I'm mourning, too," she said.
The remarks angered relatives of the victims who moments earlier told the judge about the impact on their lives. Alayna's grandmother, Denise Jones, said it was "cowardly" for Hinojosa to "disregard these children like a bag of garbage."
She said she hopes Hinojosa in prison hears her children asking, "What did we do to you?" to deserve an awful death.
Hinojosa's attorney, Bryan Sherer, declined to comment.
Lawyer Ira Harris, reading a statement on behalf of Anthony's grandparents, said the boy often talked about being old enough to ride a bus to school.
"Even wild animals would go to great lengths to protect their young," Harris said.