Mother charged in fire deaths appears in court on separate charges - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mother charged in fire deaths appears in court on separate charges

Melodia Dunn (Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Department) Melodia Dunn (Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Department)

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Memphis mother charged with child abuse and homicide after her two toddler children died in a fire when they were left home alone was in court Thursday, but her appearance had nothing to do with the deadly fire.

Melodia Dunn's house caught fire - with her children inside - on October 19th.  Her two young sons had been left home alone, and died as a result of that fire.  Two days later, Dunn was pulled over and cited for driving on a suspended license after failing to pay a previous traffic ticket.

Dunn appeared in court Thursday to answer those charges.

Tuesday night, Dunn turned herself in to authorities after she was indicted on two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of aggravated child neglect.

Her attorney, Mike Working, called the indictment is tricky.  Together, the neglect charges carry a maximum of 50 years, but a jury will never know that.

"A jury could very well think they're coming back with a lesser charge on the neglect, which is a much, much more serious charge," Working said.

Dunn has an arrest record.  In December 2007, she was charged with accessory after the fact, accused of storing property stolen from the neighbor's house.  But that case was dismissed.

In July 2009, Dunn was charged with domestic assault after a fistfight with her cousin in the street.  That case was also dismissed.

Thursday, Dunn wore a yellow jail jumpsuit, which signifies that she is being housed in the medical ward. Her attorney could not elaborate why, but said she's a grieving mother who's lost her children, and everything else, too.

"She's lost her name, and her and now her freedom, too," Working said. "Frankly, I don't know how she still has the strength to even stand up in court and talk to me."

Dunn's first court appearance on charges related to the fire has not been scheduled.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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