Jennica Duell: Mother Of Safyre Terry Lied Ex-Boyfriend Killed Her Three Children, Gets 11 Years

Jennica Duell, the mother of Safyre Terry, was sentenced to over 11 years in prison Monday for lying that her boyfriend at the time, NY Daily News is reporting. Robert Butler set fire to a house that killed another ex-boyfriend David Terry, 32, along with her three children, Layah Terry, three, Michael Terry, three, and Donovan Duell, 11 months. Safyre Terry, five at the time, miraculously survived, despite the fire consuming 75 percent of her body. Jennica Duell had told authorities that she was with Butler when he set the house with her children inside it on fire.

Robert Butler had spent nine months in prison and was facing the death penalty, when Jennica Duell changed her story, saying she was only telling authorities what they wanted to hear. The focus of the investigation skewed to Edward Leon, a former boyfriend of a woman who was planning to get married to David Terry.

Leon, who is 43-years-old, bagged a 10-year sentence for lying to the grand jury that he was not in the Schenectady area of New York at the time of the arson attack. Investigations later revealed that he had sent intimidating text messages to Terry and had actually visited the scene. However, Leon insists he did not start the fire or kill anyone.

U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said investigations were still ongoing and that there was evidence that Leon, as well as others, were involved in the attack.

According to The Daily Gazette, presiding Judge Gary Sharpe, who sentenced Jennica Duell to 11 years and three months in a federal prison Monday, said her inexcusable lies had sabotaged the case.

“I am certain that your lies forestalled the discovery of the truth.”

Prosecutors sought a maximum sentence of 15 years for Jennica Duell, arguing that her lies about the 2013 fire were detailed and repeated again and again. The 28-year-old woman’s attorney, Cheryl Coleman, had made a case for a five-year sentencing arguing that her client was forced by police to make false statements.

The three counts to which Jennica Duell entered a guilty plea are related to statements she gave strengthening the charges against her former boyfriend, Robert Butler. Duell was indicted for lying about the nature of her relationships with Butler and Terry. She was also accused of lying about how she, Butler, and others traveled to Saratoga Springs to Schenectady as well as who bought the gasoline and started the fire.

The arson attack remains unsolved with a reward of over $40,000 for anyone who has any information leading to an arrest or conviction for the person or people responsible. Liz Dolder, sister to David Terry, said Jessica Duell was a horrible mother to her children.

“I don’t know if we’ll ever get the truth. I pray every day…mothers in the wild, animals protect their children better than she ever did.”

Safyre was found by firemen in the raging fire covered by her father’s body. She was disfigured by the incident and lost her right hand and foot. According to a Time report, Safyre Terry’s story went viral last December when her aunt revealed that her niece was looking forward to receiving cards during the Yuletide season.

Safyre Terry received close to one million cards and packages from all over the world, including messages from President Barack Obama, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and the Kardashians. The eight-year-old at the time had donated most of the presents to young kids in the Albany area and the Boston hospital she had received treatment from.

According to a Daily Mail story, police arrested Kimberly Bradford for fleecing money off the sole survivor of the 2013 house fire. The 41-year-old woman from Rotterdam, New York was found to have stolen over $800 in cash and $500 in gift cards from Safyre Terry after volunteering to help open her enormous amount of Christmas cards and gifts.

Jennica Duell has been in custody since November 2014, following her perjury arrest.

[Photo by Mary Esh/AP Images]

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