Woman sentenced to 25 years for setting fatal fire

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Associated Press

Posted on December 13, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 13 at 6:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A woman accused of trying to collect on her Army husband's life insurance policy has been sentence to 25 years in prison for setting fire to her home and killing two of her children at Fort Campbell.

A sobbing Billi Jo Smallwood maintained her innocence at her sentencing Thursday in federal court in Louisville. Family, friends and jail guards portrayed her as caring and deeply religious.

The 39-year-old Smallwood could have been given life in prison.

Smallwood was convicted of maliciously setting fire to the two-story housing unit in 2007 while her children slept inside. Prosecutors say her intent was to kill her husband and cash in his $400,000 insurance policy.

The blaze killed 9-year-old Sam Fagan and 2-year-old Rebekah Smallwood.

Smallwood's husband, Wayne Smallwood, and their young daughter survived.

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