Jessica Coyote stood quietly in front of a Tulare County Judge Wednesday afternoon. She entered a not guilty plea to charges of arson and child abuse. Police say she tried to burn her house down in an attempt to kill herself along with her kids. Her husband, John Cupis said it was a cry for help.
"It was because of work and school and we couldn't find jobs," Cupis added, "How are we going to pay rent, how are we going to pay for our kids to go to school? The stress just piled up."
Cupis wasn't home when it happened. He says his wife kicked him out earlier that day. When he got home, firefighters and officers were already there.
According to police, Coyote lit clothes on fire in a bathroom and the couple's son escaped the home before it could burn down. The boy was also able to get a neighbor to call police.
Cupis doesn't believe the kids were in the home. "The kids were out, next door, she locked all the doors and that's when she lit the fire."
He admits his wife tried to kill herself but says she would never hurt the kids. "She loves her kids, I can feel what she's going through cause I'm going through it too," Cupis added.
He said his wife had a breakdown and blacked out. He wants to see her get help, not jail time.
"I'm just hoping for the best so we can be a family again," Cupis said.
Coyote will appear in court again next week. Her bail is set at $100,000.