2009-01-29 / Local & State

Parents Sentenced In Fire Deaths Of Children

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) - A husband and wife were sentenced to prison for the deaths of two of their children in a house fire, which was sparked by a candle after money relatives loaned them to restore utilities was used to buy drugs.

Ryan Donachy, 26, was sentenced to 31/2 to seven years in prison under an agreement reached last month at the start of his trial. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children.

Debbie Donachy, 25, who had pleaded guilty a day earlier, was sentenced to just under three years to six years for involuntary manslaughter.

The couple's 2-year-old son, Britton, and 1-year-old daughter, Onna, died in the house fire in November 2007. Authorities said the electric bill was more than a year in arrears.

Relatives had given Ryan Donachy $165 to pay the bill and have the power restored, but he spent it on crack cocaine that he smoked with his wife, prosecutors said.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle said that on the night of the fire, Ryan Donachy was driving his crack dealer to a tattoo parlor. As emergency medical technicians were working on the children, he was in the backyard ditching the drugs, she said.

"I was a good mom,'' Debbie Donachy tearfully told the judge. "I made bad mistakes, I made terrible mistakes, but I loved my kids.''

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