updated 1/2/2008 6:14:23 PM ET 2008-01-02T23:14:23

A 29-year-old mother whose two sons died in a fire while she was out celebrating New Year's has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, police said.

Romello Winters, 4, and Christian Griffen, 7, appeared to have been alone in their apartment for several hours before firefighters responded to a call early New Year's Day at the two-story wood frame building, police said.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control in about a half-hour. The boys died later at a hospital. The cause of the fire is not known at this time.

Aundria Jones told police she left the boys alone so she could go out to celebrate the New Year, police said in a statement. She arrived home after police had been called.

Her bond was reduced from $100,000 to $50,000 during a hearing Wednesday, and she hopes to make bond soon, said her attorney Karimbumk Jayaraman. A preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 24.

"She's going through an emotionally painful time and has to bury the children," Jayaraman said. "She is very pained at this time."

The children lived with their grandmother in Kosciusko, Miss., about 150 miles south of Memphis, and were visiting their mother for the holiday, Jayaraman said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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