PERRY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Kathleen teenager accused of shooting and killing her 12-year-old sister and then setting the family home on fire pleaded guilty in court Friday morning.
During a hearing, Carmen Collins pleaded guilty to malice murder and first degree arson. She originally pleaded not guilty up until two weeks ago when she admitted to the shooting death and arson, Public Defender Nick White told 41NBC.
Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig says Carmen was facing several other charges including felony murder and possession of a firearm during a crime, but those charges were dropped.
Collins is sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years for the malice murder conviction and 20 years in jail for the arson conviction to be served at the same time.
During the hearing, both attorneys presented the events of what they say lead to the incident at the Collins' home on July 3, 2012. Hartwig says Carmen's parents left their daughters at home. That is when he says Carmen started packing her bags to run away. He little sister, India, walked in on her and tried to stop her. The DA says Carmen went into her parent's room and took her father's gun. She shot her little sister six times while chasing her around the house, Hartwig said.
Hartwig says Carmen then took gasoline cans from a shed, poured it around and inside the home, and set the house on fire. He adds she took her parent's car and then drove to Columbus where she was later arrested.
White agreed with the sequence of events.
Carmen's mother, Angela Collins, said a brief statement in court on behalf of her and her husband. She did say Carmen had a history of running away and was hanging out with a bad crowd out of Columbus. She added her daughters loved each other and India looked up to her older sister. She says they still love Carmen and always will.
Both Hartwig and White say this was a difficult case for the family and for them.
Watch 41NBC News at 6 for more on this story.