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Kzoo mother fighting for custody of remaining child after Interfaith fire
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A Kalamazoo mother is fighting for custody of her surviving child months after a deadly apartment fire.
3-year-old twins Tevin and Teniyah Williams, and 1-year-old Tyonna Henderson died in a fire after being left home alone at Interfaith Apartments in Kalamazoo in February.
Their older sister survived.
Now their mother, Jonetta Woods, is on trial to determine if she can keep her child.
We've been hearing testimony since 9:00 a.m., to learn if Jonetta Woods is a risk to her surviving 5-year-old daughter.
The therapists who took the stand Wednesday gave a resounding yes.
"There is a very consistent pattern of being unable to recognize the needs of the child, being impulsive in making decisions," said Dr. Jim Henry, with the WMU Children's Trauma Assessment Center.
"I don't see her blaming herself for what happened," said psychologist Elizabeth Cary
Two court-appointed psychologists and a doctor shared their assessments Wednesday.
They made it clear that in their opinion, Jonetta Woods has not come to terms with the fact that three of her children are dead.
Dr. Henry said Woods' rights to her surviving child should be terminated because she takes no responsibility in what happened.
"The risk that's going to happen increases tremendously because of the inability to recognize danger in the future," he said.
He says that's based on her IQ, which he says is statistically in the bottom 1 percent of the population of the U.S.
Woods' attorney argued that taking her daughter away would cause even more trauma to the child.
Cary said though Woods didn't have emotion for her late children, she did have strong feelings about her ex-boyfriend's acquittal of involuntary manslaughter in the children's death.
"She was definitely angry he wasn't held responsible for the deaths of the children," Cary said.
The judge said regardless of the decision, there is another factor in play.
The surviving daughter's father is about to be released from jail in 60 days, so custody may still be up in the air.
The judge says the next court date may not be for three months.