Mom charged in Gary fire that killed her 2 children pleads not guilty

CROWN POINT, Ind. -- Kristen Gober, 33, pleaded not guilty Monday to neglect charges filed against her after the fire that killed her two young children.

Gober cried, her body trembling as she faced the judge.

Over the objections of prosecutors, the judge agreed to lower Gober's bond from $200,000 to $125,000. That also angered relatives who were in the courtroom.

Prosecutors argued the Gary woman is a flight risk and a danger to others, pointing out that 113 people are homeless due to the fire.

The fire broke out on March 25 at the Lakeshore Dunes apartment complex on Forest Court in Gary.

Police said Gober's 6-year-old son, who survived, told them she left the children alone the previous evening and did not return. He and his siblings were playing with the stove, and a blanket they put on the stove caught fire.

Kailani Gober, 2, and Khristopher Gober, 4, suffered burns and smoke inhalation. They died at Methodist Northlake Hospital.

According to court documents, Kristen Gober stated that she tried to reach her children. She was in shock and then walked away. Those documents also state Gober never told firefighters or the maintenance man at the scene that her children were upstairs. Police arrested her at a nearby McDonald's.

Christopher Hardin, Khristopher Gober's father, called the bond reduction -- Gober's second one -- pitiful.

"My child didn't even get to see his 5th birthday," he said. "It hurts everyday. It's not about me, but it's hard to cope. I can't sleep, I cant eat. I can't do anything."

Hardin was fighting Kristen Gober for custody of their son.

Kristen Gober's next court date is May 21.