They Charged This Mother With Five Felonies After An Accidental Fire

fireman fighting a building fire
Zain Murdock
December 12, 2021

On August 6, 2021, 34-year-old mother Sabrina Dunigan arrived at her St. Louis home – to see it engulfed in flames! All five of her children, ranging from ages two to nine, were killed. But the devastation didn’t stop there.

Dunigan was charged with five felony counts – meaning she may spend decades, or even life, in prison! Dunigan had left her children at 3am with her father, as she had to give someone a ride home from work. An electrical fire may have been the culprit.

Still, from the building’s landlord to the fire department, Dunigan’s being demonized in the media. This country has a history of attacking low-income single Black mothers like her. 80% of jailed women are single mothers, their incarceration affecting whole families and communities.

Dunigan’s father made it plain. “She done lost all she can lose already … Why they want to take the rest away, meaning herself?” And he’s right. This is adding insult to injury – as our system does so often.

Who is being kept safer or brought to justice by Dunigan spending decades in prison? The criminal legal system doesn’t operate with kindness, humanity, or basic common sense. We deserve a world where tragedies like Dunigan’s are met with benevolence, not punishment.

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