- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) - The mother of two slain children testified Tuesday that she trusted the youngsters would be cared for by her ex-husband, now on trial in their killings.

“He was their father, he was supposed to protect them. That’s what a father is supposed to do,” Corrine DeBlase said through tears.

The woman testified in the murder trial of John DeBlase, accused of killing 4-year-old daughter Natalie and 3-year-old Chase in 2010.

With no job or home after their marriage collapsed, Corrine DeBlase said she gave up custody of the kids to her ex-husband in 2008. DeBlase had been a good father when they were married, she said, but authorities contend he later caused their deaths.

“Nobody can blame me more than I can blame myself,” she said.

The man and his common-law wife, Heather Keaton, are accused of killing the children and have blamed each other. Each is charged with murder, and DeBlase is the first to go on trial.

Earlier, jurors heard about an alleged jailhouse confession by John DeBlase following his arrest.

A one-time cellmate, Brandon Newburn, testified that DeBlase wrote letters saying he killed both of his children to end their suffering because DeBlase’s common-law wife was supposedly spiking the kids’ sippy cups with antifreeze.

The defense contends Newburn coerced DeBlase and can’t be trusted.

A friend of John DeBlase, Creighton Hobbs, testified about an incident in which Heather Keaton got angry with the children at a party and grabbed Natalie by the shirt.

“‘Y’all are just horrible, y’all are just demon spawn from hell,” Keaton yelled at the children, according to Hobbs.

Hobbs testified Keaton took a lot of medication for depression that she called “crazy pills.” Keaton once said she hated when John called Natalie by the nickname “Princess,” Hobbs testified.

The children’s remains were found in December 2010 in Alabama and Mississippi.

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