Macon woman pleads guilty in children’s deaths

A Macon woman who was facing the death penalty in the 2008 deaths of two young boys pleaded guilty to two counts of murder Wednesday and was sentenced to concurrent life sentences.

Shauntrice Murry, 35, was charged with arson and two counts of murder in the July 14, 2008, deaths of 2-year-old Hezekiah Harris and 4-year-old Tydarious Harris. In exchange for pleading guilty to the murder charges, the arson charge was dismissed, prosecutor John Regan said.

Regan said he consulted the boys’ parents before striking the plea agreement with Murry and her attorneys.

“It provides closure to the family,” he said. “But nothing will bring these children back.”

The parents sat quietly on a front row in the courtroom during the hearing, but they opted not to speak during the hearing or to comment afterward.

Burt Baker, one of Murry’s lawyers, said Murry didn’t know the two children were inside the house on the night of the fire.

“It’s such a tragic case on so many levels,” he said. “The unforeseen consequences of what happened are horrific.”

Stacy Flynn Morris, another of Murry’s lawyers, said Murry’s heart goes out to the boys’ family.

“She understands entering a plea was in everybody’s best interest,” Morris said.

Murry’s boyfriend and co-defendant, 38-year-old Anthony Desean Braswell, still may face the death penalty if he is convicted of the murder charges against him. He is also charged with arson.

Another woman, 28-year-old Latoshia Yvette Wyche, also is charged with two counts of murder and one count of arson, but the prosecution isn’t seeking the death penalty in her case.

Wyche told police that Murry put gasoline in a plastic sports-drink bottle and gave the bottle to Braswell, Regan said.

Braswell is accused of pouring the gasoline onto the porch at 417 Moseley Ave., in the Unionville neighborhood, to start the fire.

They were responding to an earlier fight, authorities said.

Since the children died as a result of a deliberately set fire, authorities ruled that their deaths were homicides.

Police officers later recovered the plastic bottle from a gutter, Regan said.

Braswell is being held at the Bibb County jail without bond.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.