BOISE — The mother of a child who died in a car fire at a Boise Walmart last April was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday and must serve at least five years before she’s eligible for parole, according to court documents.
Jennifer Miller, 31, pleaded guilty to two counts of injury to a child in September. In exchange, three additional charges were dropped.
According to court documents, Miller fell asleep in the early hours of April 10 while an open-flame cooking device was still turned on in the vehicle. Authorities said she used it for heat for her two children and herself, who were sleeping in the car, parked in the Walmart lot.
Miller’s daughter, 4-year-old Allie Nicole Rose, died in the fire after Miller was unable to rescue her from the back seat, police said. Miller’s 1-year-old son, Lane Rose, survived.
Judge Samuel Hoagland said that although Miller’s actions were not intentional, a punishment needed to be handed down due to her carelessness.
“I believe the sentence imposed is just, fair and reasonable,” Hoagland said. “I believe that the ... selfish and careless acts caused the injury and death of her child, and I believe that justice requires she serve for a period of imprisonment.”
Miller was handed 10-year sentences on each injury to child charge, to be served consecutively. The first 2 1/2 years of each sentence is fixed. Restitution of $10,680.18 was also ordered.
Miller briefly addressed the courtroom before she was sentenced.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry to everyone that was involved,” Miller said. “Every day I replay that night, what could I have done differently. ... I wish I could go back now, but I can’t. I can’t fix this one.
“Wherever you decide is where I’m supposed to be.”