(06/13/2001)
A lawyer for a woman accused of killing five children in a house fire says she agreed to a plea bargain to reach an appropriate resolution to the case.

Barbara Brown was one of three parents charged in the 1997 fire in Weston. She pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of misdemeanor involuntary manslaughter. She was sentenced to one year in jail on each count, and then released for time served.

Brown had been in custody since her arrest in December of 1997. Defense lawyer Jim Pizzuti of Wheeling said today that by agreeing to the plea, Brown admitted she unintentionally caused the deaths of her three children and her former housemate's two children.

Investigators say Brown and her husband, Ricky, torched the house and left the children to die so they could collect insurance money.

Children killed in the 1997 fire were, 3 year-old Jimmy Ables and his 6 year-old sister, Nickie Ables; 8 year-old Brandon Castner and his sisters, 9 year-old Kimberly Castner and Seronica Castner, age 10.

Ricky Brown will be tried in Grant County on arson, murder and conspiracy charges. A trial date has not been set.


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