Bronx mom charged in fire that killed daughters shows up to court with newborn, turns down plea deal
A Bronx mom blamed for a fire that killed her two young daughters appeared in court Thursday with a newborn and opted against taking a no-jail plea deal — possibly to avoid deportation.
Haya Konte, 26, is charged with two counts of criminally negligent homicideand endangering the welfare of a child for leaving her girls in a Butler Houses apartment where incense was burning in April. Konte was across the street from the Claremont building doing laundry.
The kids, Jainabu Jabbie, 2, and Adama Jabbie, 18 months, died after the incense sparked the fire and flames quickly filled the third-floor apartment.
Witnesses said Konte, who was pregnant, collapsed on the sidewalk shouting “My babies!” as emergency responders carried the girls’ burned bodies from the building.
Konte, an immigrant from Gambia in West Africa, has since given birth, and appeared in court with the newborn girl in a stroller.
Prosecutors have offered her a deal to plead to a single felony that would keep her out of jail, said her lawyer, Karen Smolar. But a guilty plea, even on a lesser charge, could trigger a deportation proceeding and send her back to Gambia, sources said. Konte remained free on her own recognizance after surrendering her passport.