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Bond reduced for mother of 3 kids killed in fire

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- A Sioux Falls woman charged with drug possession and child neglect after a fire that killed her three children might be able to leave jail under a new set of bond conditions.

SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- A Sioux Falls woman charged with drug possession and child neglect after a fire that killed her three children might be able to leave jail under a new set of bond conditions.

Judge Brad Zell on Monday set bond at $10,000 for Rhiannon White, 34. She had been held on a $30,000 bond since being apprehended March 28 in Sibley, Iowa, after skipping a court hearing that day in which she was to enter pleas.

White had been confused about her earlier court date and did not mean to skip, defense attorney Amber Eggert told Zell on Monday, according to the Argus Leader newspaper. Eggert also said her client had moved to Sibley to avoid media scrutiny, not to run from prosecution.

Zell, who ordered White to participate in a sobriety program, agreed that the $30,000 bond "is extraordinary under these facts." He lowered it with a warning.

"Clearly, if you miss any additional court appearances, you'll risk new charges," Zell told White. "And you risk being in custody until those charges are resolved."

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White is due back in court May 10.

Authorities allege White tested positive for methamphetamine and Ecstasy after the Dec. 22, 2012, house fire that killed Michael Hensley, 16, Savannah Coon, 12, and Alivia Coon, 6. White and her husband escaped the fire by jumping from a second-story window. Donations from the community poured in after the blaze, but those who raised money later said there was a cloud over their efforts after they learned that White would face charges.

Prosecutors filed six counts of neglect against White because they allege she was under the influence of drugs in the presence of the children in the days leading up to the fire.

Officials were not able to pinpoint the cause of the blaze because the damage was too extensive.

Related Topics: CRIMEFIRES
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