with a 17-year-old baby sitter while she and Ms. Love went to a Lincoln Avenue bar where they had a beer late June 11 or early June 12.
Sharif, who represents Ms. Love, said the women returned to the home about the same time as fire trucks around 1:20 a.m.
Mr. Zappala toured the burned-out home with his chief prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli, city homicide detectives, fire investigators and Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka, who would be the prosecutor in any case against the mothers.
Mr. Zappala said investigators were still trying to determine whether the five children who died had been locked inside a room in the house and couldn't easily escape when other children playing with matches sparked the blaze.
While Mangham is a certified nursing assistant, was questioned by detectives on Monday.
Love, a senior student of criminology at Point Park University who worked in the evenings, was interviewed yesterday at police headquarters. She was accompanied by her attorney, one of her sisters, and her father, Lutual Love, who wore a T-shirt bearing the photographs of all seven children.
Zappala said the maximum penalty for involuntary manslaughter is 2 1/2 to five years in jail.
"They're saying that, had the mother been home, the fire would not have been set. That's not so," Sharif said yesterday. "That's just speculation. Being absent from home is not the cause of the death. The law says there has to be a direct connection."
The argument did not quell the outrage of some in the community, nor investigators and the prosecutor.
"These kids by all indications were left home alone with two 8-year-olds, and that's not acceptable conduct in this community," Zappala said.
Lutual Love, as he waited for his daughter to be questioned, said the family prays constantly for the children, their mothers and themselves.
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