QUINCY -- The mother of two children who died in a Quincy residential structure fire last October made her first appearance Wednesday in Adams County Circuit Court.
Marilyn K. Kramer, 34, faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts endangering the life of a child in the deaths of two of her children, Toby Brewer, 8, and Emma Kramer, 5, in the fire Oct. 12 at 611 N. Eighth. She was indicted by a grand jury last month.
William Brewer, the father of Toby Brewer, also was indicted on the same charge.
Kramer said she understood the charges as they were read to her in court. Chief Public Defender Todd Nelson was appointed to represent her.
Charging documents say the couple used "damaged and hand-spliced extension cords to provide electricity from a neighbor's residence and placed the cords under a mattress causing the fire" and the death of the children.
In an interview with The Herald-Whig, Adams County State's Attorney Gary Farha said that though the fire was a tragic accident, he believes the couple didn't observe the standard of care for the children.
"We believe the charges are well-founded and supported by sound electrical principals," Farha said. "I'm not saying it was not an accident. What I am saying is that it was an accident that was foreseeable."
He said charges weren't initially sought as his office was waiting on a final report from an electrical engineer who was called by the National Guard.
Preliminary autopsy results showed the children died from "carbon monoxide intoxication due to smoke and soot due to the house fire."
Firefighters were called to the two-story home about 9:10 p.m. for a structure fire with a report of people trapped and heavy smoke showing from the second floor.
Both children were students at Rooney Elementary School. Another sibling and the Kramer got out of the house. A fourth sibling was not at home.
Kramer will return to court Feb. 13 for arraignment. She is being held in the Adams County Jail on $25,000 bond.
Brewer was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in Mississippi and is not expected to arrive until next week.