FLINT (WJRT) (6/20/2018) - Mom, Erica Starkey, blamed her acquainance Rodney King for everything Wednesday in a Genesee County Circuit Courtroom. But, the Judge wouldn't stand for that, sentencing them both to 18-36 years behind bars.
"I made a poor choice to leave Rodney King at my home, but I did not do what I'm accused of," Starkey explained.
In the early morning of June 10, 2016, police say Erica Starkey left her Vermilya Avenue home in Flint to buy cocaine. King had given her between $20 - $40 for the purchase.
Not long after, King woke up to find Starkey not home yet. Angry, he set her couch on fire and left. Eventually the whole house caught on fire.
King had no idea, Starkey had left her 4-year-old son Kayden Hull locked inside a bedroom and her 13-year-old daughter Onyah Starkey and her friend, 14-year-old Brianna Beaushaw upstairs.
"As a parent you love, you teach and you protect your child," said Brianna's Mom, Schulyer Kelly. "You did none of that. This was likely not the first of many times that you put your own selfish needs before everyone else."
Kelly spoke directly to Starkey in court Wednesday.
"I loved your daughter like she was my own. I gave her uniforms, so she wouldn't be kicked out of school. I had her sleep at my house. I fed her," she said.
When Starkey spoke, she apologized to Kelly; but Kelly had left the courtroom. She said she was unable to hear Starkey put all of the blame on King.
"I take full responsibility for everything that's happened. I'm so sorry," King said.
He couldn't make it through his statement to the Judge and childrens' families without breaking down.
"God knows that I did not mean for this to happen. I wouldn't hurt anybody, especially little children," he added.
When Kelly spoke to King, she told him about Brianna, the daughter he took away from her.
"She wanted to be a heart surgeon. She wanted to teach history, so that way when the kids weren't in school she could go and save lives. She only made it 14 years, who knows what she could've done. Onyah, Kayden. Kayden was only 4," Kelly said.