Carmen Collins during her bond hearing on Sept. 13, 2012
A Houston County teen received life in prison today after she admitted killing her sister last year.
Carmen Collins, age 18, pleaded guilty in Houston Superior Court to malice murder and first-degree arson.
She was accused of shooting her 12-year-old sister, India Collins, several times and then setting the family's house on fire on July 3, 2012.
Carmen Collins received a life sentence, with possible parole, on the malice murder charge and a 20-year sentence on the arson charge, to be served at the same time.
Prosecutor George Hartwig and defense lawyer Nick White both called the case one of the most difficult they've ever handled, because one family lost two daughters.
Before Lukemire sentenced Collins, her mother, Angela, addressed the court.
She said, "I can't stand here and tell you that we had the perfect family, neither can I tell you that we had one that was filled with issues. I will tell you that our lives were changed in a manner that we would have never dreamed of or believed if we were told that it was going to happen."
Hartwig says it all started because Carmen Collins planned to leave home.
He said, "Her 12-year-old sister became aware of and figured out what's going on and probably tried to stop her from running away or threatened to call the parents.
"We believe that she retrieved a firearm that was kept in the residence it was her father's firearm shot her sister multiple times."
White said, "She told me that she burned down the house because she wanted her parents to believe that it was an accidental death, arson or by the house burning down rather than by her taking her sister's life."
White says Carmen pleaded guilty partly to spare her parents a trial.
Angela Collins told the court: "We long for the day that Carmen is back with us. We still love her and always will. Those are forever our girls, and Carmen will forever be in our lives."