Mother found guilty of arson after 12-year-old son dies in fire

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Marissa Cohen

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ANDREWS, S.C. — A mother was found guilty of arson Thursday after the death of her 12-year-old son and was sentenced to 35 years in prison, WPDE reports.

Marissa Cohen was also found guilty of unlawful neglect of a child, and conspiracy, 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says.

In November, a man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for arson and conspiracy.

A mobile home in South Carolina was set on fire on March 29, 2014, according to a press release.

The neighbors reported the fire around 1:30 a.m. and firefighters say the home was burning on one side when they arrived.

Cohen was reportedly staying with friends and had her children with her, including her 12-year-old who was killed: Dave Sycience Coombs.

Dave was walking home from a birthday party with a friend. The party was supposed to be over at 11 p.m., and Cohen had not made arrangements for him to get home, the release says.

When it started to rain, he ran back to his home instead of the apartment where Cohen was staying.

The fire was reported hours later, and Dave was the only person in the home.

His body was found in the living room, firefighters say.

An autopsy shows the cause of death as smoke inhalation and that he was sleeping when the fire started and couldn’t escape because the smoke was too heavy.

Cohen told friends and family that the home had electrical problems, investigators say.

A month before the home burned down, Cohen bought renter’s insurance. She then moved the furniture into a storage unit.

Officials said someone told them that Cohen purchased kerosene the morning of the fire.

Investigators found multiple kerosene and electrical heaters in the apartment Cohen was staying at.

When the man who was sentenced was interviewed, he said that Cohen told him she would give him $5,000 of the $25,000 she had in renter’s insurance on the mobile home if he would start the fire.

He also said he told his nephew about the fire. He said he and his nephew, James Miller, knew about the money and that he and Miller then went to the home to set the fire.

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