Prosecutor details charges against Colonial Heights parents; kids critically burned remain hospitalized

Assistant commonwealth’s attorney explains why it took nearly 4 months to bring charges against Joshua Cabaniss and Cierra Pitts
Cierra Pitts and Joshua Cabaniss
Posted at 3:07 PM, Sep 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-07 17:10:09-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. – A prosecutor is detailing the multiple criminal charges the parents of two young children critically burned in a house fire in Colonial Heights are facing.

Joshua Cabaniss and Cierra Pitts, who were indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday, face nine charges, including three counts of abuse of a child – disregard for life, three counts of cruelty to a child and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Colonial Heights fire

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The couple’s three children and their grandmother were inside the family's Covington Road home when the fire started on May 15.

Their 5-year-old son escaped, while a bystander rescued the grandmother.

The other two children, ages one and two, were rescued by first responders and brought to VCU’s burn center with third- and fourth-degree burns.

Days after the fire, the couple spoke to CBS 6 reporter Elizabeth Holmes about their children and their recovery.

“They told us they would be here for months, maybe a year," Cabaniss said in the May interview.

He said the children each faced anywhere from 50 to 100 surgeries each.

"Everything we've ever learned in parenting, throw that out," Cabaniss said. "We have to adapt to them."

Cabaniss-Pitts children critically injured in fire.

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Colonial Heights Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Noelle Nochisaki said it took months to bring the charges to the grand jury because there was a lot of work investigators had to do to make sure the proper charges were brought.

Cabaniss, who is already behind bars on unrelated matters, is expected to be arraigned on Sept. 12.

Pitts was arrested Thursday in King William County, according to online court records.

Cierra Pitts and Joshua Cabaniss
Cierra Pitts and Joshua Cabaniss

It will likely be early 2024 before the mother and father go to trial, according to Nochisaki.

The children remain hospitalized at VCU Medical Center "for the burns they sustained,” Nochisaki said.

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