GWANGJU -- A regional court sentenced a young mother to 20 years in prison on Friday for setting her house on fire and killing her three children.
The 23-year-old defendant, identified by her surname Jeong, was charged with arson resulting in death, after setting a room in her home on fire with a lighter in the southwestern city of Gwangju on Dec. 31 of last year. Jeong's two sons -- four and two years old -- and 15-month-old daughter died in the fire.
The Gwangju District Court ruled the incident an arson carried out by the defendant intended to inflict harm on her children. Prosecutors had demanded life imprisonment for Jeong, citing the seriousness of the crime.
Jeong has claimed the fire was an accident caused by her having neglected to put out her cigarette properly. But police and prosecution said her testimony was inconsistent and that the evidence indicated arson.
Jeong is said to have suffered depression, mainly due to financial difficulties. (Yonhap)