Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mother of the Year

A woman had her children take the rap for a fire that severely burned her boyfriend, authorities allege.

Surveillance cameras showed Tanesha Beard, 30, buying two one-gallon gas containers at a gas station a half-hour before the fire that severely burned and critically injured Jermaine Westbrook, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said.

On Friday, authorities reported that Beard's two children a 12-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl admitted setting the fire and mentioned watching a Tom & Jerry cartoon.

That appears now to have been a foil designed to cover for their mother, Kleine said.

Kleine said charges will be dropped against the children. However, they and two other children will remain under the supervision of state Health and Human Services officials.

Kleine charged Beard Tuesday morning with first-degree arson, first-degree assault and four counts of child abuse.

Relatives said Beard started the fire to hurt her boyfriend, and then blamed her children because she thought they would escape serious punishment..

Beard, who could not be reached for comment Monday, interrupted a juvenile court hearing Friday and claimed she set the fire. Douglas County sheriff's deputies removed her from the room. 

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